Construction and development group Willmott Dixon has posted a dip in pre-tax profit and turnover but remains bullish about its forward order book.

The company, which employs almost 800 people across the Midlands from bases in Coleshill and Nottingham, said profit had fallen in the year to 31 December 2013 from £20.1 million to £16.2 million.

Group-wide turnover fell in the same period from £1.03 billion to £1.02 billion while revenue in the capital works division, which is the main construction arm of the company, dropped to £899 million from £904 million.

Willmott Dixon is currently building the £46 million, second phase of Birmingham City University's new campus in Eastside and is also behind the new £19m University of Birmingham School and grandstand at Moseley Rugby Club.

It said that, as at March 2014, it had a secured forward order book of £2.05 billion, with 91 per cent of the group's budgeted work already secured for the year.

Chief executive Rick Willmott said: "Our work volumes and turnover continue to hold up well while our reduced pre-tax profit reflects a small number of projects now completed that did not deliver the margins we had expected.

"We are seeing more opportunities across our industry owing to greater economic confidence and a stronger housing market and we have focused our skill sets and resources accordingly."

Peter Owen, managing director of Willmott Dixon Construction, Midlands, added: "We are continuing to strengthen our presence in the higher and further education sectors.

"Local authority procurement frameworks, such as SCAPE and Construction West Midlands, continue to be an important source of work, with Willmott Dixon Construction in the Midlands currently working on more than £100 million worth of projects awarded through various frameworks.

"The tendering market is also important, particularly for projects in the commercial, health, science and technology, and education sectors.

"Having already secured this year's target turnover and a significant proportion of next year's, we are currently looking at how we might successfully increase the targets and deliver better results."

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