Strong order book growth, up 14% since the year end reflecting increase in general market activity
Strategic focus on Urban Regeneration delivering increased returns, with significant first half operating profit contribution of £3.5m (HY 2013: £0.4m); regeneration & development pipeline up 5%
Improved margin performance in Fit Out, with continued margin pressure in Construction & Infrastructure and Affordable Housing likely to continue into the second half
Adjusted operating profit down 6%, impacted by lower profit from the sale of investments
Average net debt of £6m, with increasing investment planned through the rest of the year as the development of existing schemes accelerates. New £140m revolving loan facility in place
Interim dividend of 12.0p per share, level with prior year
Commenting on today's results, Chief Executive, John Morgan said:
"The first half has seen an important shift in the balance of our profits, with an increase in the contribution from the Urban Regeneration business. This trend is expected to continue into the second half and beyond and reinforces our long-term strategy of focusing on both Construction and Regeneration activities.
For the remainder of 2014, the operating environment for general construction is expected to remain challenging with no easing of pressure on margins. However, with continued positive momentum anticipated within both Fit Out and Urban Regeneration, the Group remains on track to deliver results for the full year in line with the Board's expectations.
We are encouraged by the improvement in the quality of our order book reflecting the higher level of activity in the market, which positions us well for the medium to long term."