Balfour Beatty sees split market

By Helen Wright09 May 2012

UK-based contractor Balfour Beatty reported contrasting conditions in its main markets during the first quarter, with the UK construction market remaining challenging but signs of recovery in the US and new orders in the Middle East.

The company maintained its order book at £15 billion (€18.6 billion) during the first three months of the year. Gains in its professional services division were offset by lower orders in the construction services division, where new contract wins in the international businesses and in rail partly offset shortfalls in the UK and the US.

"Looking ahead, the operating environment in the construction sector remains challenging in some of our major markets," the company said in a trading update.

"While US market recovery and liquidity improvement in Dubai bode well for upside, the UK market is expected to remain competitive. We are taking the necessary actions to manage the businesses through this period including those which will drive further structural efficiency across the group."

Balfour Beatty said it saw opportunities in the power, rail, transportation and mining industries, particularly in growth markets like Australia, Canada, and, in the longer term, in India and Brazil.

It also said it would accelerate its cost efficiency and public-private-partnership asset disposal programmes in 2012.

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