Balfour Beatty profit falls but order book at record levels

Balfour Beatty saw pre-tax profits fall by 62% during a Covid-hit 2020, but ended the year with a record order book and a strong net cash performance.

The company’s annual report for the year ending 31 December 2020 saw pre-tax profits of £48m compared to £138m in 2019, and followed the decision to repay monies received from the UK job retention scheme.

The report also showed a strong cash performance, with average net cash at £527m (2019: £325m), exceeding previous guidance, and with net cash at the year end of £581m compared to £512m at the end of 2019.

The future order book increased by 15% to £16.4bn (2019: £14.3bn), providing what the company described as ‘clear medium-term visibility’ - and the directors’ valuation of its investments portfolio remained stable at £1.1bn (2019: £1.1bn).

Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group chief executive, said: “Throughout the pandemic, we have protected the group’s strengths, supported our stakeholders and held firm to our disciplines. That we achieved this while exceeding our own targets for net cash demonstrates Balfour Beatty’s resilience and the dedication of our people and partners.  

“Our leading positions in large growing infrastructure and construction markets, record year end order book and £1.1bn investments portfolio provide confidence in future cash generation. This underpins our new capital allocation framework which demonstrates Balfour Beatty’s commitment to deliver enhanced returns to shareholders.”

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