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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 March 2006, 10:27 GMT
Record orders fuel Balfour Beatty
Balfour workers
Balfour Beatty is confident on its prospects for 2006
Engineering firm Balfour Beatty has topped City forecasts with a 25% rise in annual profits on the back of record order books.

Pre-tax profits rose to 134m ($232.9m) last year and its order book grew by 12% to 7.6bn.

Earnings at its civil engineering and services division more than tripled, thanks to a number of big contract wins in the gas and water sectors.

This offset a weak performance from its construction and rail services unit.

Profits fell by 27% in its rail engineering unit, although the decline was blamed on the loss of rail maintenance projects after Network Rail decided to take contracts in-house again.

However, it reported progress from work on the West Coast main line, London Underground track renewals and an infrastructure project at Heathrow's new Terminal 5.

"We have record order books and a number of preferred bidder positions. Our major markets are healthy... we are confident that we can continue to make progress in 2006," the company said.

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