Troubled contractor Kier has reported a slight narrowing of half-year losses as it attempts to get back on track.
The firm, which has maintenance contracts with several housing associations and councils, reported pre-tax losses of £41.2m in the six months to 31 December, compared to losses of £45.3m in the same period the previous year.
Half-year revenue slid 8% to £1.8bn, as its infrastructure and construction businesses reported falling sales.
Chief executive Andrew Davies, who is carrying out a widespread shake-up of the business, said “decisive cost actions” had “more than compensated for challenging market conditions”.
The contractor, which is in the process of closing its Bedfordshire headquarters, cut 420 staff in the six-month period and has now reduced overall headcount by 1,200. A further 50 staff are due to leave the business by the end of June, Kier said today. Restructuring costs in the period totalled £48.8m.
The firm is also attempting to offload its housebuilding arm, Kier Living, which it said today is now officially discontinued. A sale had been anticipated soon but Kier said a deal is now expected “within the next 12 months”.
Kier said revenue and profit in its housing maintenance business were down on last year but did not give exact figures.
Since the new year, the contractor has bagged a spot on a £2bn framework with Hyde and a £1.2bn Islington new build construction framework. It also revealed today it has secured a fire safety works contract with Hammersmith and Fulham London Borough Council and an £8m, three-year deal with Gentoo for “planned maintenance work”.
Kier said it will “continue to seek opportunities with housing associations, local authorities and private landlords for planned maintenance contracts, including fire safety works”.
The contractor, which carried out a disastrous rights issue in late 2018 that led to the departure of long-serving chief executive Haydn Mursell, reported today that its net debt rose to £242m, up from £180m in the previous half-year.
In its last full year, it reported a pre-tax loss of £245m, partly due to “significant loss-making contracts”.
Shares in the group were up 12% at 114p in mid-morning trading.