Balfour Beatty reports ‘strong’ infrastructure performance

By Leila Steed18 August 2021

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty CEO Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty CEO

UK construction giant Balfour Beatty has released its 2021 half year financial results, describing its performance in the infrastructure sector as “strong”.

The company, which recently signed up to the UN Race to Zero campaign, revealed an order book worth a total of £16.1 billion (€18.9 billion) - only just down on the £16.4 billion (€19.3 billion) it reported for the same period in 2020.

Around £6.2 billion (€7.3 billion) of this comes from its UK construction order book alone, and 80% of Balfour’s orders are attributed to infrastructure works from both public sector and regulated clients.

While its underlying profit from operations saw a £14 million (€16.4 million) loss compared to last year, the company also reported a “continued strong cash performance”.

An increase of the previous year’s figure of £527 million (€619 million), Balfour’s average net cash for 2021 now stands at £611 million (€718 million).

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group Chief Executive, said, “We continue to reshape Balfour Beatty to play to its strengths. These include leading capability in markets where governments are committed to long-term infrastructure programmes.”

While infrastructure spending around the world has increased sharply - as governments try to limit the financial damage caused by the Coronavirus pandemic by stimulating growth - Balfour has said that its Support Services operations have benefited from exiting the water and gas sector.

Speaking of how the company’s order book priorities, Quinn said, “It means choosing to exclude regions and sectors which cannot provide profitable, low risk growth, in favour of those that can. Our priority is on executing our already strong order book which will drive attractive cash generation and returns.

“Today, we are substantially increasing our interim dividend on the pre-pandemic level and raising margin targets in Support Services.”

In addition, the first six months of year also saw the company buy £99 million (€116 million) worth of shares through a buyback programme, which will see it reacquire a further £51 million (€59.9 million) in shares by the end of 2021.

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