Murray & Roberts takes US$ 111 million charge

By Chris Sleight23 February 2011

Murray & Roberts has announced a ZAR 795 million (US$ 111 million) in its half-year accounts for the six months to 31 December. It will also record a loss of ZAR 326 million (US$ 46 million) against businesses that have been closed or are held for disposal, leading to an overall half-year loss of ZAR 636 million (US$ 89 million).

The main impairment charge is the result of slow payments on several major projects in South Africa and the UAE, which Murray & Roberts made public at the end of January.

CEO Brian Bruce said, "Although this is a disappointing result for the half-year the company has taken what action it deems appropriate to clean the slate in the context of current difficult market conditions in Middle East and South Africa."

The company is characterising the charges as drawing a line under the problems of the past, which were linked to the global recession. The transition is further emphasised by the fact Mr Bruce and finance director Roger Rees will retire at the end of the current financial year (30 June) after 11 years leading the company. Murray & Roberts said the search for replacements is well underway.

Emphasising what it saw as a bright future, Murray & Roberts said it had an order book worth ZAR 50 billion (US$ 6.9 billion), and opportunities in the market of some 239 individual projects, worth at least ZAR 59 billion (US$ 8.3 billion).

"The company has informed the market that is has invested in the development of its strategy to re-engage the growing potential of new opportunity in Rest of Africa that it believes will flow from development of the continents resources and infrastructure markets," it said in a statement.

Mr Bruce added, "Despite this performance setback, Murray & Roberts remains a resilient and strong contractor with the world class capabilities needed to support the delivery of its order book into the future, to access the best opportunities in its current and new markets and to deliver on its commitment to sustainable earning growth and value creation."

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