Interserve profit rises on strong UK support services performance
(Reuters) - British support services and building company Interserve Plc's (IRV.L) first-half profit rose 7.6 percent, helped by strong growth in its UK support services business.
Shares in the company rose as much as 5.4 percent on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday morning. The stock was trading at 552.09 pence at 0749 GMT (2:49 EDT) making it one of the top percentage gainers on the FTSE 250 Midcap Index.
The company, whose services range from cleaning Sainsbury supermarkets to building shopping malls in the Middle East, said headline profit before tax rose to 36.8 million pounds ($56.90 million) for the six months ended June 30 from 34.2 million pounds a year earlier.
Revenue rose 8.5 percent to 1.07 billion pounds. The company bagged 1.5 billion pounds worth of new contracts during the first half.
Interserve also said its partly owned subsidiary - Landmarc support services, which manages UK military training facilities - received a contract extension worth 110 million pounds until July 2014 from the UK Ministry of Defence.
Interserve maintained its outlook for the year, but said it expected challenging market conditions for its international construction division in the near term.
Revenue from its international construction business fell 7 percent to 96.5 million pounds in the first half from 103.8 million pounds a year earlier.
The company has been focusing on providing support services such as moving rigs and building maintenance to the oil and gas industry in the Middle East as its construction business has slowed down in the region.
It acquired oilfield maintenance services unit Topaz oil and gas last month for $46 million from Oman's Renaissance Services RSC.OM and in January bought oilfield maintenance and logistics services company the Oman Construction Company (TOCO).
Interserve raised its interim dividend to 6.8 pence per share from 6.4 pence.
(Reporting by Tasim Zahid in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane)
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