'Agile operator' Balfour hopes to cash in on growth

Balfour Beatty has said it anticipates strong growth in key markets, including transport infrastructure and services.

Publishing its 2020 Annual Report and Accounts, the Group confirmed an order book valued at £16.4bn, of which £9.1bn represents business in the UK.

It declared underlying revenue of £8.6bn, of which nearly £7bn is attributed to its Construction Services businesses, which operate across infrastructure and buildings markets in the UK, the US and in joint venture in Hong Kong.

This business includes civil engineering, building, ground engineering, mechanical and electrical, refurbishment, fit-out and rail engineering.

It also declared an underlying profit before tax of £36m and an investments portfolio valued at £1.09bn.

Regent Street bridge lift for Leeds City Council. Photo credit: Catherine Morgan

Group chief executive Leo Quinn said: ‘Throughout the pandemic, we have protected the Group’s strengths, supported our stakeholders and held firm to our disciplines.

‘That we achieved this while exceeding our own targets for net cash demonstrates Balfour Beatty’s resilience and the dedication of our people and partners.

The Group said its Construction and Support Services businesses would benefit from strong underlying growth, including £2bn extra for Highways England under the second Road Investment Strategy. 

It added that the local highways maintenance market is forecast to see significant investment with the announcement of an additional £2.5bn, increasing local council budgets by 45% over the next five years, and more than £700m of outsourced contracts up for renewal between 2021 and 2025.

The report also notes that under Network Rail's Control Period 6, the work focus within the UK rail industry is shifting, with maintenance and renewals receiving an extra £10bn and the formation of the Project Speed taskforce and the ramp up of Transport for Wales’ £700m Core Valley Lines programme expected to create a strong pipeline of construction work.

‘As an agile operator offering a range of rail capabilities, Balfour Beatty is well placed to deliver both maintenance and core construction work,’ the firm said.

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