Business in brief: Babcock | Balfour Beatty | APR

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SUPPORT services outfit Babcock International has reported a steady rise in annual turnover and profits.

The group, which owns the Rosyth dockyard and manages the Clyde naval base, posted 6 per cent growth in revenues to £3.2 billion for the year to 31 March, with underlying profits up 16 per cent to £317.8 million.

Babcock, which employs 25,000 people across sectors including defence, energy and telecoms, added that its order book stood at £12 billion while a £15bn bid pipeline pointed to significant opportunities. The full-year dividend rises 16 per cent to 26.3p.

Construction woes weighing on Balfour

Balfour Beatty’s first-quarter trading update yesterday said that there had been “no change in performance” following last month’s profit warning, its second in six months.

The firm had warned investors that profits at its UK construction business would be £50 million below expectations and that group chief executive Andrew McNaughton had taken control of the unit personally “to address the operational issues”. Balfour yesterday added the UK construction market “continues to be adversely impacted by the shortage of major public projects.”

Oman and Indonesia help surge at APR

APR Energy, the temporary power supplier floated in 2011 by Punch Taverns founder Hugh Osmond to rival Glasgow-based giant Aggreko, has won work in Indonesia and Oman.

The firm said that, together, the two contracts would require 72MW of power to be supplied by diesel generators. So far this year, the company has sealed deals to supply 353MW of power, compared with 284MW in the opening period in 2012.

Caroline de La Soujeole, an analyst at Cantor, described the first-quarter trading update as “underwhelming” and cut her rating from “hold” to “sell”.