However, a planned share buyback has been delayed until the stock market calms down from its current coronavirus-induced unrest.
Balfour Beatty financial results for the year to 31st December 2019 show that group pre-tax profit was up 12% to £138m (2018: £123m) on revenue up nearly 8% to £8,411m (2018: £7,814).
Year-end net cash topped £500m, with average net cash up 68%. Underpinning the balance sheet is a £1.1bn Investments portfolio.
Revenue from UK construction was up 16% to £2.2bn (2018 £1.9bn). UK Construction increased its underlying operating profit by 68% to £47m (2018: £28m) representing a 2.1% operating margin (2018: 1.5%).
The Aberdeen Western Peripheral Route (AWPR) project, which had damaged Balfour Beatty’s financials in recent years, was finally completed, opening in February 2019.
US Construction delivered an operating profit of £52m (2018: £44m) from revenue of £3.7bn. Gammon, the Hong Kong joint venture, contributed a further £26m (2018: £23m) in operating profit.
Group chief executive Leo Quinn said: “Five years into our Build to Last transformation programme, we continue to drive a culture of transparency, risk management and relentless improvement. Having focused Balfour Beatty’s geographic and operational footprint, we have invested significantly in capability, innovation and standard systems and processes.
“In this way we have created a scalable business which – together with the increasing order book – gives us confidence that the group will continue to deliver profitable managed growth and cash generation on a sustainable basis.
“We are committed to delivering value from this performance. The group is continuing to pay down around £150m of borrowings in 2020 and, in addition, the board will review Balfour Beatty’s capital structure once there is clearer understanding of the Covid-19 situation.”