Construction group Kier builds 12% profit increase

Kier, the construction group behind the restoration of Glasgow School of Art's iconic home, today reported higher half-year profits and a 'strong pipeline' of activity north of the Border.

Kier said work was progressing well on the restoration of Glasgow School of Art's fire-damaged Mackintosh building. Picture: McAteer Photograph
Kier said work was progressing well on the restoration of Glasgow School of Art's fire-damaged Mackintosh building. Picture: McAteer Photograph

The firm posted pre-tax profits of £46.3 million for the six months to the end of December, up from £41.5m a year earlier, as improved margins helped to offset a 1 per cent dip in revenues to £2 billion.

Under its Kier Construction Scotland division, which generates turnover in excess of £150 million a year, the group employs more than 200 people across its offices in Aberdeen, Glasgow, Inverness and Newcastle.

Brian McQuade, managing director for Scotland and the north-east of England arm at the construction arm, said: “We’ve performed well this year, increasing our framework and tender wins and taking a steady approach to growth and securing a strong pipeline of activity.”

McQuade said that Kier recently secured a four-year deal with the University of Strathclyde for “minor works” projects worth up to £750,000, and is also poised to provide building work services at Glasgow Airport under its three-year construction framework.

He added: “Education continues to be a prominent sector for Kier. We have been appointed by hub South West to develop the design and build for the new £25m Queen Margaret Academy in Ayr on behalf of South Ayrshire Council.

“We are currently on site delivering a number of state-of-the-art schools throughout Ayrshire, including the £43m William McIlvanney Campus at Kilmarnock, the £25m Ayr Academy and the £35m redevelopment of Marr College in Troon.”

McQuade said that work was progressing well on the £25m restoration of the fire-damaged Mackintosh building for Glasgow School of Art and its £14m refurbishment of Edinburgh College of Art.

“We recognise the skills shortage affecting the entire construction industry and we are increasing awareness of this diverse and hugely rewarding sector by working with a number of schools, industry bodies and local suppliers throughout the country to attract and retain more young people into construction,” he added.

Following its rise in profits for the first half, Kier said shareholders will receive an interim dividend of 22.5p a share on 19 May, marking a 5 per cent increase on last year’s payout.

Chief executive Haydn Mursell also announced that chairman Phil White, the former boss of inter-city coach operator National Express, will be retiring in November after almost ten years at the helm. White will be succeeded by Philip Cox, who also chairs power generator Drax Group.

Housebuilder Redrow is on track to notch up a 22 per cent rise in profits this year, revealing a record order book and a better-than-expected increase in selling prices.

The group, which made a rebuffed takeover approach for rival Bovis Homes recently, expects to deliver at least £306m in pre-tax profits in 2017, also fuelled by a rise in legal completions.