July 29, 2019 / 6:39 AM / 23 days ago

Keller Group first-half profit plunges, but confident of full-year

(Reuters) - Keller Group Plc (KLR.L) posted a 32% drop in first-half profit on Monday as costs rose in its North America operations, but the engineering contractor stuck to its full-year expectations citing a stronger second half of the year.

The company, which provides ground improvement equipment and cable systems to the construction industry, said file:///C:/Users/U6026132/AppData/Local/Fastwire/Download/532101077/Keller%20Group%20plc%20Interim%20Results%20for%20the%20six%20months%20ended%2030%20June%202019.pdf underlying pretax profit fell to 28.9 million pounds in the six months ended June, from 42.2 million pounds a year ago.

Keller, which also provides systems and services for monitoring the safety of buildings, said the results were in line with its expectations after earlier warning in May that costs would be higher due to “unfavourable” weather.

The overall margin declined year on year, driven by the “adverse weather related inefficiencies” in the period, the company said.

Keller has been cutting down costs and exposure to unprofitable markets, and reviewing its Asia Pacific business since October after conditions in Southeast Asian markets deteriorated, leading to a decline in new orders in the region.

The company, which flagged in May that the Asia Pacific division would return to profitability in the second half of the year, said sales at the division fell 35% to 138.3 million pounds in the first half.

The company said it continued to expect a stronger second half with an improvement in margin driving higher profit, with full-year revenue expected to be broadly flat from 2018.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and Gopakumar Warrier

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