Ambition of company behind Gloucester’s incinerator still burns brightly
By Andrew Merrell | 15th August 2019
A construction firm whose name will forever be associated with one of the county's most controversial landmark developments has revealed its strongest half year results in years.
Balfour Beatty, Britain's biggest construction company, saw its shares rise more than 10 per cent after it reported an underlying operating profit of £17m for the first half of the year, up from £5m the same time last year.
The firm, one half of the Stonehouse-based partnership Urbaser Balfour Beatty, which built and manages Gloucestershire County Council's incinerator off Junction 12 of the M5, also reported pre-tax profit of £63m, up from £50m last year.
Leo Quinn, chief executive for the business and the man brought in to rescue the group in 2014, said: "This is another strong set of results - increasing profits backed by a strong cash performance, plus carefully managed growth in our order book.
"Today, the group's geographic and operational diversity underpins our risk management, with over 50 per cent of our business and Investments portfolio assets outside the UK.
"Combined with the strength of our balance sheet and cash flows, this positions Balfour Beatty to create and return future value to shareholders."
It is welcome good news for a UK plc operating in the eye of the Brexit storm which is either threatening to engulf the economy or to pass harmlessly overhead, depending on who you listen to.
But it is worth noting, perhaps, that the firm's results mentioned the word 'uncertainty' eight times - all in relation to Brexit.
For Balfour Beatty, however, those "unprecedented levels of uncertainty" are somewhat mitigated by the firm now doing 50 per cent of its business in the United States of America.
Urbaser Ltd and Balfour Beatty are in a joint venture to manage Gloucestershire's municipal waste in under a contract with Gloucestershire County Council established in 2016.
Urbaser Ltd provides municipal waste treatment and recovery services to residents throughout the UK. Operations are focused on conserving resources, carbon reduction, and delivering a circular economy.
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