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Better margins and cost savings boosted Tarmac's profits last year although chief executive Sir Neville Simms warned that growth in rail and Private Finance Initiative work would not offset road spending cuts .

Operating profits from UK contracting increased to £27.3M from £16.3M last year. Turnover was £1.36bn compared with £1.28bn.

Strong profit growth from materials also contributed to a rise in pre- tax profits from £10.5M to £115.2M while turnover rose slightly from £2.66bn to £2.77bn.

High Point Rendel has returned to profit after a radical financial restructuring, according to results published last week.

The recovery was helped by a decision to quit the depressed roads sector and followed the announcement just before Christmas of a refinancing deal (NCE 11/25 December 1997).

Pre-tax profits for the six months to 31 January were £759,000 compared with losses of £352,000 in the six months to 30 November 1996, the last comparable six month accounting period. Turnover was down from £15.1M to £12.3M.

Road services and materials group Streamline this week said it was the target of a takeover bid from an unnamed company as it announced an 11% jump in pretax profits to £15M for 1997. Turnover was £166M compared with £162.2M the previous year.

The road maintenance division reported a slight fall in profits - £11.8M, down from 1996's £11.9M - as growth in the British market was offset by the effects of the strong pound on overseas work. Turnover was £116.8M compared with £113.1M.

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