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Kier Group Slips To Loss In H1, Cuts Dividend; Backs FY19 Underlying View

Construction, services and property group Kier Group Plc (KIE.L) reported Wednesday that its first -half loss before tax was 35.5 million pounds, compared to last year's profit of 34.3 million pounds. Basic loss per share was 28.9 pence, compared to profit of 28.7 pence a year ago.

Underlying profit before tax was 39 million pounds, compared to 49.4 million pounds last year. Underlying earnings per share were 30.8 pence, compared to 40.9 pence a year ago.

Group revenue increased 3 percent to 2.06 billion euros from 2.01 billion euros last year. Underlying revenues were 2.20 billion euros, up 2 percent from the prior year.

Further, the company announced an interim dividend of 4.9 pence, sharply lower than last year's 23.0 pence. It will be paid on 17 May 2019 to shareholders on the register at the close of business on 29 March 2019.

The company reported continued progress on disposal programme; sale of Kier Highways Services Australia was completed in December 2018.

Looking ahead, the company said its FY19 forecast would be earnings and cash flow neutral.

Philip Cox, Executive Chairman, said, "Whilst the Board notes the current political and economic uncertainty in the UK, and the implications for third party investment, the Group is maintaining its underlying FY19 expectations, with the full-year results being weighted towards the second-half of the financial year, as expected."

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