Balfour warns of ‘legacy’ hit to profits

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Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty is expected to fall to a loss this year after warning that its earnings could be hit by up to £150 million.

Chief executive Leo Quinn said an ongoing review of the business had identified “legacy issues” in the UK, US and Middle East that will result in an “additional shortfall” to 2015 pre-tax profits of £120m to £150m. The UK accounts for about two-thirds of this amount, he added.

Before the alert – the latest in a string of profit warnings from Balfour – City analysts had been expecting a pre-tax profit of about £77m.

Balfour scrapped its final dividend last year after falling to a £304m pre-tax loss from continuing operations on the back of “problem” construction projects.

Quinn said today: “However, we are making encouraging progress on the group’s transformation.

“The positive response of our people to change, the continuing confidence of our customers in Balfour Beatty’s expertise and the first signs of improving cash performance reinforce my conviction in the group’s long-term success.”