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Middle East and US wins help Balfour Beatty maintain its £15bn order book

Balfour Beatty has maintained an order book of £15bn thanks to good wins in its US and Middle East operations.

In a trading statement covering the first four months of the year, the firm said its overall performance was consistent with the outlook given at the time of its full year results in March.

It said it was seeing some signs of recovery in the US but that as anticipated, the UK construction market remains challenging.

The firm’s professional services order book - driven largely by its subsidiary Parsons Brinckerhoff - is ahead of that at the year-end with new orders in the Middle East and steady progress in the Americas. This offset an anticipated slowdown in the the UK.

Its construction services order book was slightly lower than at the year-end, with orders in the international businesses and in rail partly offsetting the shortfalls in the UK and the US.

It said the operating environment in the construction sector remains challenging in some of its major markets. “While US market recovery and liquidity improvement in Dubai bode well for upside, the UK market is expected to remain competitive. We are taking the necessary actions to manage the businesses through this period including those which will drive further structural efficiency across the group,” it said.

The firm said it continued to make good progress with the implementation of its back office cost efficiency programme announced in 2010 and expects to reach the targeted savings of £30M per annum by 2013. It added that it was building on the existing programme with additional targeted savings of £50M per annum by 2015. As announced in March it said that some of these measures will impact existing employees and a consultation process has now started. But the firm has already stated that this initiative will not affect staff involved in project delivery.

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