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Kvaerner profits up 50%


ANGLO-NORWEGIAN CONTRACTOR Kvaerner Construction's pre-tax profit rose by more than 50% last year, grossing £27.3M on a turnover of £1.313bn.

Preliminary results for 1999 show turnover increased by 10% from £1.197bn in 1998. But profit before tax and goodwill grew 51.5% from £18M; operating profit nearly doubled from £9.1M in 1998 to £18M.

And despite a decline of nearly 6% in Kvaerner's 1999 order book on the previous year at £1.5bn, chief executive Keith Clarke said continuing improvements in the management of projects are expected to deliver further improved profitability this year.

'We're planning to make refinements at the site-end of our operations,' Clarke commented. But he warned there would be no 'bold moves - we're being predictable and trackable'. Kvaerner Construction's strong performance contrasts starkly with results from other parts of the Kvaerner Group. Overall performance delivered a pre-tax loss of £4.156bn on £5.36bn turnover. Operating profit after tax was only £51M.

Kvaerner is still trying to streamline its loss-making pulp and paper, mechanical fabrication and shipbuilding businesses. Last year it sold off its metals equipment and energy concerns; it is expecting to complete the deal to sell Cleveland Bridge to a management buyout team this quarter.

But Clarke noted that the divisions operate as discrete entities within the Group. 'We stand alone in as much as we have no synergies with other parts of the company,' he said.

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