Cost-cutting still priority for Balfour

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Balfour Beatty, Britain’s largest contractor, said cost-cutting remained a priority in its construction unit during the third quarter with a slight lift in US orders offsetting a weak UK market.

Balfour, which recently handed over the Aquatics Centre for the London 2012 Olympics, said its order book had remained flat since August at £15.5bn and it is trading in line with its expectations.

The group announced a £295m deal to supply military housing in the US on Tuesday.

“We continue to believe that the medium and long-term prospects for infrastructure markets remain positive. In the meantime, we are managing the business on the basis that market conditions will continue to be tough,” said the company. Balfour is looking to new markets for growth as the government slashes public projects and spending to lower its debt, heavily impacting the domestic construction market.

Balfour, which already operates in 80 countries, unveiled a joint-venture with India’s Tata Projects last month, in a bid to target opportunities in India and Sub-Saharan Africa.