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Contractors optimistic despite decline in output

Three of the UK’s leading contractors have reported a positive outlook for the rest of 2011 despite government output figures showing construction dragging the economy down.

Costain, Galliford Try and Morgan Sindall all issued bullish trading statements after securing major project wins. Their statements followed news that construction output had fallen by 4.7% in the first quarter of 2011 making it the worst performing sector in the economy.

Costain confirmed a “robust” order book of £2.3bn and preferred bidder positions worth over £400M.

Trading in line

“With trading in line with the board’s expectations, a strong cash position and ongoing delivery on its stated strategy through a combination of organic growth and selective acquisitions, the board is confident of further progress in 2011,” it said.

Morgan Sindall said its construction and infrastructure divisions were trading in line with expectations following a series of major contract wins including the £50M Pudding Mill Lane portal job for Crossrail.

“In summary, we have made a positive start to 2011,” it said.

New crossing

Galliford Try said its order book was up 3% on the position at the end of 2010 to £1.8bn, driven by its £790M deal to build the new Forth Replacement Crossing in joint venture with Dragados, Hichtief and American Bridge.

“Construction has benefited from encouraging contract awards in the period,” chief executive Greg Fitzgerald.

“We therefore now expect full year results to be significantly ahead of the current range of market estimates and remain confident in delivering the objectives of our expansion plan during the next financial year.”

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