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Construction sale delays Laing 2000 financial results

SLOW PROGRESS with the sale of John Laing's contracting division has forced the company to delay publication of its 2000 financial results by six weeks.

Laing has put back the announcement so it can complete the sale of its troubled construction division. The company normally publishes its year end figures in early March, but this year expects to announce them on 26 April.

Laing Construction chairman James Armstrong had said in November he expected to complete the sale of the division by March, at the time the company announced plans to sell.

A Laing spokesman said the company had drawn up a shortlist of bidders and that the sale was 'going very well' even though a deal had still to be agreed.

Laing's share price has soared in recent weeks despite an announcement that the group was setting aside £40M for losses in the construction division (NCE 1 February). The shares were trading at 534p this week after dipping to 399.5p last month.

The high share price is thought to be down to Laing's decision to buy Hyder Investments from the Hyder utility group in January. This is expected to deliver long term profits from a series of privately financed infrastructure projects.

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