March 11, 2020 / 8:32 AM / 23 days ago

UPDATE 1-Balfour Beatty to hold off on capital structure review till virus impact clearer

(Adds company comments on virus, figures on order book)

March 11 (Reuters) - Infrastructure company Balfour Beatty confirmed on Wednesday it would wait until it had a clearer understanding of the coronavirus situation before making any moves on its capital structure.

Sky News had reported here on Tuesday that the company had deferred plans for an intended 200 million pound share buyback due to the market turmoil caused by the virus.

Balfour Beatty said all its sites and offices in the UK, the United States and Hong Kong remained open and that it was too early to fully assess the impact of the outbreak on the group’s financials and operations.

The London-headquartered company, which is working on projects that are part of High Speed 2 rail line, also reported a 10% rise in underlying pretax profit to 200 million pounds ($258.66 million) for the full year ended Dec. 31, as its focus on high-margin projects paid off.

It said contracts from High Speed 2 - a rail line connecting London to northern England - would add over 3 billion pounds to its order book in the first half of 2020, a 21% rise from 14.3 billion pounds achieved at the end of 2019.

Shares of the company jumped 8% by 0807 GMT and were on course for their best day since August last year. ($1 = 0.7732 pounds) (Reporting by Chris Thomas and Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; editing by Patrick Graham and Anil D’Silva)

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