Keller job cuts after UK losses deepen

Aaron Morby 13 years ago

Piling contractor Keller has carried out a further round of UK job cuts as the firm suffered growing losses in its home market.

The international piling contractor said it made a £2m loss in the first half of the year in the UK and has now merged equipment yards to reduce its cost base. Turnover fell a fifth to £23m so far this year.

But Keller said the worst may be over and it was starting to see signs of a pick up in the UK as new orders start on site.

Chairman Ross Franklin said: “The performance of the UK business is expected to improve further in the second half of the year, as some of the transport infrastructure projects in which it will be involved get underway.”

The piling business was recently awarded a £37m contract for grouting works that form part of the £700m Victoria Underground Station upgrade.

Keller will undertake the installation of over 2,400 jet grout columns, which will allow approximately 400m of new tunnels to be excavated to connect a new North ticket hall to the existing halls in the south of the station.

Franklin added: “The project will be undertaken in co-operation with our German subsidiary, which brings considerable experience of large-scale tunnel stabilisation projects of this kind, including major contracts in Antwerp, Leipzig and Cologne.

“Works will start in late 2011 and are scheduled for completion early in 2014.”

Overall worldwide turnover in the six months to end-June rose 10% to £545m but pre-tax profit slumped from £11m last time to £3.4m.

Keller warned recovery in the US and Western Europe construction markets was taking longer than expected and overcapacity remained an issue, particularly in the US, maintaining pressure on margins in the near term.

The group operating margin operating margin fell to 1.2%, compared with last year’s 2.8%, due mainly to losses in the first three months of the year.

In Australia and developing markets Keller experienced far better markets with revenue up by 23% at £216m.

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