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Keller announces new wave of redundancies

Ground engineering specialist Keller Group is to spend £3M on its second wave of redundancies in six months as it attempts to tackle intense competition and low margins in Continental Europe.

The redundancies will focus on Western Europe and follow on from job cuts to Keller’s UK workforce earlier this year.

The latest round of job losses will not affect the UK, the company said.

Keller said this week that it expected its full year 2010 financial results to be at the bottom end of market expectations due to intense competition in its traditional geographical markets such as the United States and the UK.

“It’s a challenging market,” said Keller finance director James Hind. “It’s not until the end of next year that we will see work from any big UK projects, namely Crossrail.”

But Keller maintained that its financial position was strong and that it had reduced its net debt from £121M in June to £109M now.

The order book is 7% higher than the same time last year but underlying margins are not expected to improve until there is confidence in a sustained recovery. Keller said the US construction market was also challenging.

And within Continental Europe, the company said Poland and Germany have been strong, but its businesses in other markets, particularly in France and Spain, were likely to face further cost reductions.

The firm said its business in Australia, was performing strongly.

Keller has a world-wide revenue of about £1bn with 6,000 staff across 30 countries.

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