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Housing boosts Laing and Amec

CONTRACTORS LAING and Amec both reported strong financial results for the year to 31 December1997, buoyed by significant gains in the housing market.

Laing's pre-tax profits rose 31% to £32.2M on a turnover of £1.46bn. Profit on housing was up 53% to £21.9M compared to a rise of £3.6M to £4.9M for construction activities.

Chairman Sir Martin Laing said that he expected a further cash outflow in the first half of 1998 to be balanced by gains from merging its US housing operations with Watt Residential Partners later this year.

Amec saw profits rise 26% to £47.5M in 1997 before exceptionals on a turnover of £2.77bn with operating profits from housebuilding subsidiary Fairclough Homes nearly doubled to £16.2M. French contractor Spie Batignolles, in which Amec holds a 42% share, added £7.5M to profits and offset poor results in German and UK building operations. Amec closed five of its offices in Germany last year due to a downturn in the market, leaving just two.

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