Infrastructure firm Kier made a pre-tax loss of £41.2m for the six months to 31 December 2019 and axed around 420 staff, as it continues to shore up finances and undergo a restructure.
The firm was hit by falling revenues of 9% - down to £1.82bn from £1.98bn in the same period in 2018 - and one-off costs totalling £71.1m before tax and interest, mainly due to its 'restructuring'.
While the outlook remains challenging for Kier, the results do show some improvement.
Kier made a pre-tax profit of £30.7m up from £30.2m for the same period in 2018, while its pre-tax loss has been reduced from £45.3m. It also made cost savings of £23m.
Andrew Davies, chief executive, said: 'I am pleased to report that many of the actions we outlined at the beginning of the year have been executed successfully. In particular, the decisive cost actions we have taken are now benefiting the group and have more than compensated for the challenging market conditions we experienced in the period. These actions resulted in an increase of 3.4% in operating profit before exceptionals and the impact of IFRS 16.
'The group has been awarded places on several major frameworks since 1 January 2020, following the awards of around £1.7bn in the period, and the Government has recently confirmed that the HS2 project will proceed.
'We have a new executive management team in place; we are continuing to embed Performance Excellence; and our cost reduction programme is expected to deliver benefits of at least £65m by 30 June 2021. We expect to reduce the capital invested in our non-core businesses and to progress the sale of [Kir] Living. The work to re-shape the Group continues, as we focus on executing our strategic priorities and reducing net debt.'
Kier's infrastructure services segment comprises the highways, infrastructure and utilities and rail businesses. In the six months to 31 December 2019 revenue was at £783.2, its operating profit £27.6m on an operating margin of 3.5%, and it had an order book of some £4.3bn