Build to last programme helps Balfour Beatty cut losses

Losses have narrowed at Balfour Beatty  Photo : Newscast/PA Wire  .
Losses have narrowed at Balfour Beatty Photo : Newscast/PA Wire .
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Losses have narrowed at Balfour Beatty as the construction firm continues to make progress with its turnaround plan under boss Leo Quinn.

Pre-tax losses for the first half of the year came in at £21 million, down from £150 million in the same period in 2015. Balfour has been held back by onerous construction contracts that delivered poor returns.

Chief executive Mr Quinn, who has been cutting costs under his Build To Last programme, said: “We are now starting to see tangible benefits from the transformation of Balfour Beatty. Eighteen months into the first phase of Build To Last we have delivered our second successive half of underlying profitability and remain on track to achieve our initial targets of £200 million cash in, £100 million cost out.

“By concentrating on our selected markets, we are growing our order book within a control environment which ensures that our business decisions lead to sustainable profit and cash growth.”

Revenues were broadly flat at £4.1 billion and the firm reinstated its dividend at 0.9p per share.

On Tuesday, Balfour announced that it has secured its biggest US contract to date after signing a £524 million deal to electrify 52 miles (84km) of California’s railway.

The company will lay the infrastructure for new high-speed trains along the Caltrain rail corridor which runs across 17 cities between San Francisco and San Jose.

Balfour will build the overhead power systems and substations to support the new high- speed carriages for the network, which currently has 92 trains and shuttles 65,000 commuters daily.

The deal is being hailed as opening the door to the US market just as the UK industry starts to falter.