News Bb Order Book Stays Flat

Balfour Beatty says continuing negative foreign exchange movements and a shift in its construction business from the UK to the USA means its overall order book for 2013 is unlikely to be much different from the £13.5bn it achieved in 2012.

The company had posted an upbeat trading statement for its third quarter in November, suggesting that its UK construction business might exceed market expectations this year.

But in an update released today ahead of its full-year results due to be released in March, it says that, while it is successfully reducing costs in its Australian business to offset a challenging market there, it now feels that an ongoing contracts dispute is unlikely to be settled in time for it to be included in the 2013 results.

At the same time the performance of its German rail business, which it is trying to sell, has worsened since the November statement, thanks to three loss-making contracts.

It did, however, sell off Balfour Beatty Workplace in December and its Scandinavian rail business for £4m earlier this month.

Significant contract wins since the November update have included confirmation of the £154m Olympic Park transformation project. It is, however, no longer bidding for Network Rail’s track improvement work. Its existing contract for this work runs out later this quarter.

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