(Adds CEO, analyst comments, background, shares)
By Li-mei Hoang
LONDON Aug 6 British building services and
construction company Interserve said a string of new
contract wins augured well for the future as it posted a 36
percent rise in first-half profit.
Chief Executive Adrian Ringrose said on Wednesday the group
had secured future work worth up to 7.5 billion pounds ($12.7
billion), compared with 6.4 billion at the end of 2013.
"These are strong results. We're pleased and it's continuing
three years of consecutive growth," he told Reuters.
"Underpinning it all, we're winning work. We have won about
2 billion pounds worth of contracts in the period, with a range
of customers ... and looking forward, we think there is more to
come," he added.
The FTSE-250 company, whose services range from cleaning
supermarkets to building shopping malls in the Middle East, said
pretax profit for the six months to June 30 rose to 50.2 million
pounds ($84.7 million) from 36.8 million a year earlier.
Its shares, which have risen 88 percent over the past two
years, were up 2.1 percent to 625 pence at 0810 GMT.
"Interserve's numbers are a tad better than was expected we
believe," said Whitman Howard analyst Stephen Rawlinson.
"The price has faltered a little recently dipping to 611
pence and we expect that these numbers and the positive mid term
outlook should see some of the perkiness restored to the price,"
Interserve, which operates in more than 40 countries, also
posted a 29 percent rise in first-half revenue to 1.4 billion
pounds, and raised its dividend by 10 percent to 7.5 pence per
Ringrose said the company's equipment business, which
accounts for 18.5 percent of operating profit, had experienced
an outstanding period after profit rose by 64 percent year on
year, helped by an improvement in the UK construction market.
Interserve's recent acquisition of facilities management
business Initial from Rentokil earlier this year also
helped to add 600 million to its order book.
($1 = 0.5930 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by Neil Maidment and Mark