Outsourcing firm Capita saw its shares surge to an all-time high yesterday after it beat market fore-casts with a 24 per cent improvement in half-year pretax profits.
The company, which oversees London's congestion charge, posted the figure of £92.4 million after booking £806 million worth of new and extended contracts during a "buoyant period of activity" in the past seven months.
New deals included a £424 million contract to run Birmingham City Council's IT and administrative functions.
Capita employs around 2,000 people in the Midlands.
Chairman Rod Aldridge said: "Capita has made considerable progress in the first six months of the year reflected in another period of fantastic financial results."
Among other recent deals, Capita will work with councils in Rossendale and Westminster to provide revenues and benefits administration.
Mr Aldridge said the firm had entered into a consortium with Fujitsu to provide services to the Northern Ireland civil service. Work will also be carried out for the BBC.
Stockbroker Panmure Gordon said the figures were seven per cent ahead of forecasts.
Robin Speakman, a technology analyst at Shore Capital, also said: "Capita's results look to be strong to us and appear well ahead of our expectations.
"We are likely to be upgrading our full-year 2006 and 2007 forecasts."
Michael Donnelly at Bridgewell Securities said: "The most important thing is the magnitude of Capita's contracts.
"It points to a buoyancy of the outsourcing market and the ability of Capita to close deals.
"I struggle to see anything significant on the horizon that will knock Capita off course."
Capita's contract with the BBC started in April as the firm helped set up a dedicated human resources centre in Belfast, which is due to open in September.
It has also started to run Dixons and Currys owner DSG International's technical support centre in Nottingham while it reported positive results from its tie-up with Zurich's UK life business arm.
Mr Aldridge said there was a "very healthy flow" of acquisition opportunities and announced the firm would be making further small deals in the second half.
The chairman announced in March he would stand down as boss of the company he founded in 1984 because of publicity over a loan to the Labour Party.
He was named as one of the dozen millionaires who bankrolled Labour's General Election campaign, but stressed the loan had nothing to do with sealing Government contracts.
Mr Aldridge pointed to growth during the firm's 17 years as a public company, which has seen a total shareholder return of 165 times. It has also seen employee numbers grow from 98 to 26,000 and the number of clients develop from a handful to 25,000.
Eric Walters, a director at Capita for five years, takes over as non-executive chairman on August 1.
The group will pay an interim dividend to shareholders of 2.7p, up 29 per cent on the year before. Shares closed up 44p to 518.75p.