Balfour Beatty turns corner with losses cut and divi back

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Nearly two years after Balfour Beatty began shovelling out the detritus that threatened to topple its structure, the City has heralded the first signs of the construction giant’s corporate makeover.

Shares shot up 7% as Balfour reinstated its dividend after an 18-month hiatus, and pre-tax, first-half losses fell by 86% to £21 million. 

Boss Leo Quinn, poached from running Qinetiq to turn around Balfour in 2014, boasted: “Results are like an iceberg. They peek up above the water but we’ve got even more going on underneath.” 

Balfour, which is refurbishing the lighthouse building in King’s Cross, spent the recession years bidding for contracts too cheaply, which, together with the hangover of 45 acquisitions in 15 years, led to seven profit warnings before Quinn arrived.

“Now we have some confidence that we’ve turned the corner, and it’s long overdue,” the chief executive said. “Orders are up 7%, and that’s under a much more controlled regime over what we bid for.”

Quinn said his counterparts at foreign firms were “slightly confused by the [Brexit] vote” and called on the Government to come to a “conclusion on its deliberations” about nuclear, flood defence, and runway decisions.

The shares rose 18p to 262.4p.

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August 17, 2016 |
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