East Anglia: ‘Solid’ first half performance for Morgan Sindall

CONSTRUCTION and infrastructure group Morgan Sindall, whose high-profile projects have included fitting out the BBC’s MediaCity offices at Salford, said today it was weathering the economic storm as it posted “solid” half-year results.

More than half of Morgan Sindall’s business comes from construction and infrastructure, where operating profits fell by �1million to �8.5m as a result of downward pressure on prices and bidding margins.

But its expertise in tunnelling and aviation – it works at nine of the UK’s 15 major airports – as well as in railways, highways and the water sector helped the division overcome fewer public sector opportunities.

The group, whose other divisions cover fit-out services, affordable housing and urban regeneration, said half-year revenues slipped 8% to �1billion.

However underlying profits lifted 4% to �20.3m thanks to improved returns in its investment division and a big rise in profits in urban regeneration after it turned a number of “marginal” projects into viable schemes with help from Government initiatives.

The decline in revenues also reflected “difficult markets” for its Lovell affordable housing arm, which includes some assets of social housing firm Connaught.

Executive chairman John Morgan said: “We have delivered a solid performance over the first half of 2012 and we are on track to meet our expectations for the full financial year,” and predicted further opportunities for the firm in growth infrastructure sectors.

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The London-based group employs around 7,000 people across the UK. Its Morgan Sindall construction, infrastructure and design arm includes offices in Ipswich and Norwich, with major recent projects in East Anglia having included a �6.5m Personnel Recovery Centre at Colchester Garrison.

Affordable housing division Lovell also has an office in Norwich, with its projects the region including a �3.9m development on the former Masons cement works at Great Blakenham, near Ipswich, and a �2.5m design and build scheme for Chelmer Housing Partnerships in Chelmsford.