* Shares up 4.8 percent, highest FTSE 250 riser
* Secured 630 million pounds worth of new contracts
(Adds CFO, analyst comment, background)
By Li-mei Hoang
LONDON, May 15 Construction company Kier Group
said it was optimistic the British economy was
recovering after it saw growth across all of its businesses and
secured more than 630 million pounds ($1.06 billion) of new
contracts in its third quarter.
Kier said on Thursday it had seen an increase in the level
of opportunities across its public and private sector work
especially in Britain over the last three months, where the
recovery in the construction market is taking off.
Data this month showed Britain's construction sector, which
accounts for just over 6 percent of the economy, grew for the
12th straight month in April albeit at the slowest rate in six
months according to Markit purchasers manager index.
The FTSE 250 company, whose activities range from building
power stations to providing outsourcing for local councils, said
it had won more than 500 million of new contracts in its
construction division for the year to date.
It was also named the preferred bidder for two contracts,
worth 130 million pounds over 15 years for Anglian Water to
manage its utilities business, which will commence in July 2015.
"It is a consequence of better economic conditions, it just
breeds confidence," Chief Financial Officer Haydn Mursell told
"Pretty much all corporates are starting to deliver,
generally, better results or certainly foresee better results
and they are investing ahead of that," he added.
Mursell, who joined the business four years ago from
infrastructure group Balfour Beatty, will take over CEO Paul
Sheffield's role on June 30.
Kier said that the bulk of its targeted revenue for 2015 was
secure, with order books maintained at around 7.5 billion
Shares in Kier were up 4.7 percent at 1724 pence by 0834
GMT, making it the top riser on the FTSE 250 index.
"Very strong construction growth is the key highlight. Kier
is well run, offers hidden value in property and strong growth
driven by rapidly recovering construction and (the acquisition
of) May Gurney," said Liberum analysts in a note.
($1 = 0.5960 British Pounds)
(Reporting by Li-mei Hoang; Editing by David Goodman and Sophie