Keller boss hails record financial performance

Keller’s chief executive has hailed his company’s record performance in the first half of this year, despite “the world [going] to hell in a handbag” during the period.

In the six months to the end of June, the ground engineering specialist reported worldwide revenues of £1.33bn, a rise of 36 per cent on the £984.1m recorded in the first half of 2021.

It posted a £32.7m pre-tax profit for the period, up from £29.2m.

Although it is a UK-headquartered company, Keller carries out most of its business elsewhere. Its revenue in Europe stood at £297.6m for the period, up from £244m last year.

The company’s results statement credited its ability to respond to the disruption triggered by the war in Ukraine as a driver behind its positive results. This included a significant “escalation in supplier costs and energy prices”, and “downtime” created by disruption to materials delivery.

It also noted the UK division’s “continued good delivery” of its contract with HS2.

Keller Group chief executive Michael Speakman told Construction News the company had stood up well to recent economic challenges and was confident about the rest of the year.

“We are collectively very pleased with the first-half results. The world, in the last six months, has gone to hell in a handbag in lots of different macroeconomic ways – and it certainly wasn’t the year that we were planning for when we put a budget together last year.

“But, nonetheless, the different elements of the company and the management within the company have responded well to everything that’s got thrown at them, and we’ve finished a half-year with a record first half and [a] strong order book, which really underpins the second half.”

The results statement added that “market demand” helped to offset the economic challenges posed by “raw material and labour availability”, caused in part by increasing inflation and the Ukraine war.

It also said it had passed on a “significant portion of cost increases in the form of higher prices” to clients to preserve profits.

Keller also reported a record order book of £1.6bn. This includes a £50m contract win to help build a new mega-city in Saudi Arabia, known as the ‘Neom project’, secured in June. The job will bring in “hundreds of millions of pounds” worth of revenue in future, the group said.

Speakman said the company could gain “a lot of confidence” from its order book, and its priorities for the second half of the year included a focus on execution in North America and preparing for the start of the Neom job.

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