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Kier buoyed by market upturn

Contractor Kier has flagged a revival in the commercial building market as it reported an increase in annual profits at the top end of market hopes.

The Bedfordshire-based firm said it had secured high volumes of work and added that previously mothballed private commercial projects were being resurrected as funding becomes available.

The upbeat comments, which lifted shares 4%, are welcome after gloom in the sector last week as the Government took the axe to the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) project.

Kier is braced for further cuts but said its exposure to the BSF project was not “material”.

The firm said its building business was focused on more “non-discretionary” areas such as power and utilities, while it also hopes for a boost from the recently approved Crossrail cross-London rail link.

Kier also hopes to grow revenues in overseas markets as it establishes itself in markets including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, and Hong Kong.

“Whilst we continue to operate in a challenging environment, our integrated business model provides us with the ability to seek out and create new opportunities,” the company said.

Group Finance Director Deena Mattar plans to leave the company this November. She is to be replaced by Haydn Mursell, the current deputy group finance director at Balfour Beatty.

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