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Balfour Beatty reports higher UK orders than expected

Balfour Beatty has announced higher than expected UK construction order intake in the first quarter of 2011, in its Interim Management Statement.

The company said this is primarily due to contracts won by its regional UK building business, including novated Rok contracts, and the confirmation of the award of a Crossrail contract for its civil engineering business.

The company said its order book at the end of March was “modestly ahead of expectations”, with “good wins” in the power sector in the Americas partly offset by difficult market conditions in the UK.

Balfour Beatty said the Asian professional services markets have been buoyant, despite some adverse impact from the Queensland floods in Australia.

The statement covers the period 1 January to 9 May 2011.

Challenges for the company include uncertainty in government capital expenditure in the UK and the US. Balfour Beatty said it is “encouraged by the progress made so far” in adapting to this.

The business in Hong Kong continued to grow while the market in Dubai remained subdued.

The financial position of the Group was reported as remaining “good with a strong balance sheet to support our growth ambitions”.

The company said that over the medium and long term it expects global infrastructure to be an attractive growth market.

“We have put in place a clear strategy, and the Group is well-placed to benefit from the growth in this market based on our depth of infrastructure knowledge, breadth of capability and the strength of our balance sheet.

“While we do not expect, in the short term, a meaningful recovery in the UK and US infrastructure markets, we continue to expect to make progress this year.”

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