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Balfour Beatty sees profits leap but predicts tough 2009

Key client for building services firms, Balfour Beatty today reported a 24 per cent jump in pre-tax profit, boosted by growth in public sector projects and the performance of its acquisitions.

Balfour Beatty’s pre-tax profit for the year to 31 December 2008 totalled £249 million, up from £201 million a year earlier.

Group revenue, including joint ventures, increased 27 per cent to £9.4 billion, from £7.4 billion in 2007.

The group’s order book increased to £12.8 billion at the end of 2008, from £11.4 billion, with a further £4.9 billion of further work at preferred bidder stage.

Some 85 per cent of Balfour’s work comes from the public sector so it believes it is well placed to weather the storm in 2009.

But the firm said the economic downturn will take its toll in 2009, especially in the private sector.

Chairman Steve Marshall said: “While the difficult economic environment will have some impact on our businesses and creates greater uncertainty, we anticipate making progress in 2009.”

Balfour added in a separate statement that it has won new contracts worth $480 million (£341 million) in the U.S.