70% profit dive for Balfour Beatty

The P3 powerhouse saw profits tumble in the first half of 2013, but reported a strong order book.

Balfour Beatty posted an interim underlying profit of £45 million (€52 million; $70 million) in the first half of this year, the UK-headquartered infrastructure developer and operator reported. This was 70 percent down on the £150 million recorded previously.  

The group's UK regional construction unit made an operational loss of £41 million in the first six months of 2013, down from a £59 million profit a year earlier.  

The company had issued a profit warning in April, with construction considered a weak area of the UK economy – though there have been some signs of improvement in recent months. A recent Markit/CIPS report found that UK construction activity in July had reached its highest level since June 2010.   

Balfour Beatty in January announced a leadership change, naming Andrew McNaughton chief executive. McNaughton replaced Ian Tyler, who became chief executive in 2005.

The company reported that its order book had increased £13.9 billion, up 7 percent on H1 2012. Revenue, however, dropped 3 percent compared with last year.

Its infrastructure investment business posted a pre-tax result of £78 million, driven by £45 million from public-private partnership (PPP; P3) disposals made in the first half.

Balfour Beatty Investments is the asset management arm of Balfour Beatty.