September 21, 2017 / 6:16 AM / a year ago

Kier posts 3.5 percent rise in full-year profit

(Reuters) - British construction and services company Kier Group (KIE.L) reported a 3.5 percent rise in full-year profit on Thursday as its acquisition of engineering services provider McNicholas boosted the order book.

Kier’s order book was worth about 9.5 billion pounds at the end of June, up from 8.9 billion pounds at the end of December.

The company raised its full-year dividend per share by 5 percent to 67.5 pence and said it was confident of achieving double-digit profit growth in percentage terms on average each year to 2020.

The company, whose activities range from building power stations to outsourcing work for local councils, said underlying operating profit rose to 146 million pounds in the year to June 30, from 141 million pounds a year ago.

A sharp decline in the construction activity in July underscored the British economy’s sluggishness as it prepares to exit the European Union.

Kier warned in March that Brexit was causing delay in major UK infrastructure projects from tower blocks to new roads.

Peers such as Capita (CPI.L), Mitie (MTO.L), Interserve (IRV.L) and Carillion (CLLN.L) have all reported tougher trading in UK since the June 2016 Brexit referendum, with unplanned changes escalating costs on past contracts.

Kier, meanwhile, is expected to benefit from the work done for the $24 billion Hinkley nuclear power project, via its joint venture with Bam Nuttall.

Reporting by Esha Vaish and Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Amrutha Gayathri

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