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US claims hit Balfour Beatty profits

CLAIMS ON 'two or three' major US infrastructure projects hit Balfour Beatty's civils profits during the first half of the year, according to results published last week.

But the contractor said its UK civils operation was recovering from the effects of the foot and mouth crisis, which had hampered access to sites in spring 2001.

First half operating profits from civil engineering this year edged up from £6M in 2001 to £7M, while the civils division's turnover increased by £174M from £513M to £687M.

Overall, Balfour Beatty reported first half group pretax profits of £40M, compared with £36M in the same period of 2001. Group turnover increased from £1.43bn to £1.68bn.

Balfour Beatty said it was waiting to resolve payment disputes in the US before accounting for expected profits.

The flat performance in civil engineering contrasted with strong results from the rail sector, where Balfour Beatty more than doubled first half operating profits from £7M to £16M.

The division's turnover increased from £314M to £394M. The improvement was a result of better performances in electrification and power systems work across Europe and the US.

The contractor said it expected its utilities contractor Kentons, which was acquired in February, to boost civils profits in the second half.

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