Spending cuts hit Balfour Beatty

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The Independent Online

The builder behind London's Olympic velodrome and the M25 widening has revealed the full extent of the damage wrought by spending cuts on its UK business.

Balfour Beatty, whose shares are down more than 20 per cent this year, issued a profit warning two weeks ago, bracing investors for a £50m profit shortfall in its UK construction business.

Yesterday, the company said total construction revenues fell 11 per cent in the first quarter, driven largely by a 23 per cent slump in UK construction. It blamed a "marketplace which continues to be adversely impacted by the shortage of major public projects and fierce competition in the regional markets".

Its shares rose 6.5p to 222.7p, in the absence of further gremlins in the update. But Balfour Beatty also warned of a break-even performance from the UK construction arm over the year with profits weighted more towards the second half than usual. Other parts of the business – professional services and support services – are in better shape, with overall orders up 5 per cent to £16bn at the end of March.