Balfour Beatty Shares Rise After Sharp H1 Profit Increase

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Balfour Beatty Shares Rise After Sharp H1 Profit Increase
Credit: © Reuters.

By Scott Kanowsky -- Shares in Balfour Beatty PLC (LON: BALF ) surged by more than 9% on Wednesday after the U.K. homebuilder reported a jump in first half profit and raised its interim dividend.

The company posted underlying income from operations of £85M, up by 42% compared to the same period last year, thanks in part to its construction operations in Britain returning to profit.

Balfour Beatty's construction business in the U.S., as well as its Hong Kong joint venture Gammon and infrastructure investments unit, also saw profits rise in line with expectations.

Meanwhile, the group's order book grew by 10% during the first six months of the year to £17.7B, as it has focused on bidding for contracts where it "holds expert capability and can achieve improved contract terms."

"With Balfour Beatty's businesses well-positioned in markets with excellent opportunities, underpinned by the strength of its balance sheet and Investments portfolio, the Board expects to drive further profitable managed growth and significant shareholder returns in 2023," the company said in a statement.

As a result, Balfour Beatty raised its recommended interim dividend by 17% year-on-year to 3.5 pence per share.

But it warned of potential "global challenges" ahead, particularly in higher energy and raw material prices, inflation pressures, and supply chain issues.

Elsewhere, Balfour Beatty rival Persimmon (LON: PSN ) reiterated its profit outlook, saying demand for new homes remained strong despite worries over a possible inflation-driven cooling in the U.K. housing market. However, Persimmon also posted a more than 8% decline in first half profit.

Shares in Persimmon edged slightly lower in early European trading.

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