(Sharecast News) – Keller Group upped its full-year earnings outlook on Wednesday, on the back of strong first half trading and a “robust” order book.
The specialist geotechnical contractor said it expected to deliver a “record” first half performance. Combined with a “robust” order book, it now expects full-year underlying operating profits to be “materially” ahead of market expectations, although the increase in earnings was likely to tempered moderately by interest rate rises.
Keller also confirmed it would increase the interim dividend by 5%, to 13.9p per share.
In North America, Keller said it had seen a strong recovery in the operating margin during the six months. It added that while production volumes at its Suncoast unit had fallen, it had actively managed margins to deliver an improved performance year-on-year.
In Europe, Keller benefited from stabilising cost inflation and easing supply chain issues. However, it noted that the “recessionary backdrop” had caused some challenges, and that large projects – such as HS2 in the UK – made for stiff comparators.
Chief executive Michael Speakman said: “The actions we have taken to improve operational execution have resulted in an increased operating margin and a record performance in the first half of the year.
“This significant progress, together with the increased momentum and our robust order book, gives us the confidence to increase our expectations for the year.”