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Keller orders fall after strong 2008

Geotechnical contractor Keller posted recession-busting results for 2008 this week. But the company warned that 2009 would be tougher with revenues expected to fall

It said its current order book was down 10% on this time last year. “As we move into 2009 we are aware that markets are much more difficult,” said chief executive Justin Atkinson. 

“Pretty much across the board we are seeing a shift in workload from private to public sector.” Preliminary results for the year to 31 December 2008 showed a 25% increase in revenue to £1.2bn. Pretax profits were £113.2M, up 10% on 2007.

Keller operates in 30 countries worldwide with only 7% of its business in the UK and the fall in the value of the pound during the year had a positive effect on the firm. “I believe revenue will drop. We will continue to see some benefit from sterling and top line revenue will drop somewhat, though the underlying business is likely to be down about 20%,” said Atkinson.

“But despite some advantage that accrued, these are very strong results. Like for like we still showed a growth of 12%.” Results were particularly strong in Australia, Eastern Europe and the Middle East. “Fortunately we have very little business in Dubai which has turned down,” said Atkinson.

Earnings per share were increased by 14% to 111.1p against 97.6p for 2007 and it is proposing to increase its total dividend for the year to 20.7p from 18p for 2007. “We are able to continue a policy of increasing dividends by 15% year on year,” said Atkinson. 

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