- Balfour Beatty reported underlying operating profit more than double to £196m, and pre-tax profit was £165m, up from £62m in 2016.

The group's order book fell by 8% to £11.4bn from £12.4bn the previous year as the group focused on bidding at only appropriate terms for projects best aligned with its capabilities.

Its UK construction division - while still under pressure - swung to a profit of £16m compared to a loss of £65m the previous year.

As part of its 'Build To Last' transformation which includes trimming operations, Belfour Beatty exited the Middle East with the sale of Dutco Balfour Beatty and BK Gulf for £11m. While US-based Heery International was sold for US$57m, eliminating potential conflicts of interest with Balfour Beatty's US Construction business.

Construction Services underlying revenue rose 2% to £6,649m as growth in the US offset an expected decline in the UK.

Support Services underlying revenue declined 4% to £1,061m as an increase in utilities was more than offset by lower transportation revenues.

The firm's average net cash was £42m in 2017, compared with net debt of £46m the previous year, while year end net cash rose to £335m from £173m.

Balfour recommended a final dividend of 2.4p per share, bringing the full year dividend to 3.6p, up from 2.7p the previous year.

Leo Quinn, Group Chief Executive, said: 'These results clearly demonstrate that our Build to Last programme is transforming Balfour Beatty. The Group has been repositioned to drive sustainable growth in profits, underpinned by a strong balance sheet. It has the right culture and capabilities to capitalise on the rising tide of infrastructure spend in our chosen markets.' 'As a result of Build to Last, and the governance and controls now in place, we remain on track to achieve industry-standard margins in the second half of 2018. In the medium term, we are building a Group capable of delivering market-leading performance.' Story provided by