Business briefs: Petrofac | BT | Balfour Beatty

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OIL services firm Petrofac expects modest growth in net profit this year after its books were hit by the shutdown of a gas plant in Algeria.

Full operations at In Salah are expected to restart in the second half of this year, the firm said yesterday. The group, which designs and builds oil and gas infrastructure and also invests alongside oil firms in fields, said it remained on track to meet its earnings target.

Petrofac, which has bases in Aberdeen and Montrose, surprised analysts this year when it declined to put a number on its growth forecast for 2013.

• TalkTalk shrugged off fears over the impact of BT’s imminent sports channel launch as it reported a turnaround in customer numbers and return to revenues growth.

The broadband and television firm suffered a shares slide last week amid fears its recovery would be snuffed out by BT’s offer of free English Premier League TV for subscribers.

But in a bullish trading update yesterday, it played down the threat, saying it was firmly focused on “value-seeking customers who want a little more TV, not a lot”.

• Construction group Balfour Beatty suffered a shareholder protest over directors’ pay yesterday when almost a quarter of votes cast at its AGM were against the remuneration report. A fortnight ago the sector bellwether issued a £50 million profits warning after the firm flagged “extremely tough” conditions in its UK construction operation.

Balfour Beatty, which employs around 1,500 staff at six sites in Scotland, said it was a “challenging environment in which to win and execute work” with market conditions deteriorating sharply.

• Newspaper publisher Trinity Mirror has revealed a 10 per cent fall in revenues since the start of the year, but said the declines are showing signs of slowing.

The owner of the Daily Record and Sunday Mail said total revenues in March and April fell 7 per cent compared with the same period last year, marking an improvement on the 13 per cent slide seen in the previous two months.

Chief executive Simon Fox also said the group continued to co-operate with police investigating claims of phone hacking and inappropriate payments to public officials.