DELAYS TO overhead power cable contracts caused by the foot and mouth crisis hit an otherwise strong performance by Balfour Beatty during the first six months of 2001, according to results published last week.
Restricted access to agricultural land meant the contractor's power networks teams could not get to some pylons and underground cable ducts.
This meant Balfour Beatty had to spend money keeping teams together even though they were unable to work.
As a result the civil and specialist engineering and services division saw operating profits fall from £10M in the first half of 2000 to £7M in the same period this year. The division's turnover increased from £461M to £525M during the first half.
Underlying group pre-tax profits increased from £35M in the first half of 2000 to £45M in the first half of this year. Group turnover increased from £1.21bn to £1.44bn.
The strong performance was boosted by Balfour Beatty's investments and developments business, which has funds in privately financed infrastructure.
This saw profits increase by 28% to £23M.
Balfour Beatty chief executive Mike Welton said the contractor was now aiming to expand globally through local acquisitions and organic growth.