Balfour continues to enjoy growth with cash surge

Balfour Beatty has announced a pre-tax profit of £138m in its 2019 full-year results, up from £123m in 2018, as the group continues to see growth during its 'Build to Last' transformation programme.

It saw a 68% increase in average net cash to £325m (2018: £194m) and a 52% increase in year-end net cash to £512m (2018: £337m), prompting a 33% increase in full-year dividends to 6.4 pence (2018: 4.8 pence)

The group announced an 8% increase in underlying profit from operations (PFO) to £221m (2018: £205m) and a 22% increase in PFO from earnings-based businesses to £172m (2018: £141m).

Its order book also saw a jump of 13% to £14.3bn (2018: £12.6bn) boosted by the recent HS2 approval.

Group chief executive Leo Quinn said: 'Five years into our Build to Last transformation programme, we continue to drive a culture of transparency, risk management and relentless improvement. Having focused Balfour Beatty’s geographic and operational footprint, we have invested significantly in capability, innovation and standard systems and processes.

'In this way, we have created a scalable business which – together with the increasing order book – gives us confidence that the Group will continue to deliver profitable managed growth and cash generation on a sustainable basis.

'We are committed to delivering value from this performance. The Group is continuing to pay down around £150m of borrowings in 2020 and in addition, the Board will review Balfour Beatty’s capital structure once there is clearer understanding of the COVID-19 situation.'

The construction group deferred plans for a £200m-plus share buyback amid the stock market turmoil caused by the coronavirus.

The company had been enjoying a boisterous start to the year with its shares racing up to the highest point since March 2019, until the market fell amid the fears of a looming pandemic.

Balfour also saw a drop in its investments portfolio decreased to £1.1bn after US military housing valuation fell by £79m.

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