Balfour Beatty have posted a £24m pre-tax loss for the first six months of 2020, compared to a £72m profit in the same period in 2019, with chief executive Leo Quinn describing the financial impacts of Covid-19 as “unavoidable, but they will pass.”
Announcing its half-year financial results, the company remains confident of “returning to profitable managed growth”, pointing to “a balance sheet, order book and expert capability at record levels.”
Half-year net cash stood at £563m (FY 2019: £512m), average net cash at £507m (FY 2019: £325m), and the group order book increased over 20% to £17.5bn (FY 2019: £14.3bn; HY 2019: £13.2bn).
In March, the company repaid $46m of US private placement notes; in July, fully redeemed £112m of preference shares. Directors’ valuation of investments portfolio maintained at £1.1bn (FY 2019: £1.1bn; HY 2019: £1.2bn).
The company says that, given chosen markets recover as expected, the 2021 PFO outlook for earnings-based businesses remains broadly in line with 2019, and the board will look to re-instate the dividend as soon as is appropriate.
Leo Quinn, Balfour Beatty Group chief executive, said: “Since the Covid-19 crisis broke, our mission has been to safely manage through it while protecting the group’s strengths. That meant balancing the needs of all our stakeholders. We have kept sites open wherever safe to do so, prioritised supply chain payments and supported staff. Our people’s response has been outstanding, working tirelessly whatever the challenge, to enable Balfour Beatty to provide the daily infrastructure relied on by the public.
“We have preserved the disciplines, expert capability and financial strength we will need as markets move back to normal and then beyond, driven by fiscal stimulus for infrastructure. In achieving this, our systems, processes and leadership have all proved the value of our investments over the last five years.
“The financial impacts of Covid-19 are unavoidable; but they will pass. Since the start of Build to Last, our balance sheet, order book and expert capability are at record levels. We look forward with confidence to returning to profitable managed growth, and to delivering ongoing value for all our stakeholders.”