Construction group Galliford Try has reported an "excellent year" with strong prospects for the future on the back of record house-building completions and good summer sales.

The company, which is carrying out the £20 million refurbishment of Muirhead Tower at Birmingham University, reported a 63 per cent increase in full-year pre-tax profit in the year to June 30.

The firm's pre-exceptional pre-tax profit increased to £53 million from £32.5 million last time on a 65 per cent rise in sales to £1.4 billion.

The company's order book currently stands at £2.1 billion, adding that he expects the group to deliver further growth over the next year. Andy Sturgess, managing director of Galliford's building division, said: "We have had an excellent year. All four divisions - the two in housing, building and infrastructure - have performed very well."

Elsewhere in the Midlands, Uxbridgebased Galliford is carrying out the £20 million infrastructure work for the four tracking between Birmingham and Lichfield for Network Rail as well as work on the upkeep of the region's canal network for British Waterways.

Mr Sturgess said there had been no impact on the firm's housebuilding operations by the recent interest rate rises, while the average price of the company's houses had increased three per cent to £219,000.

Completions for the year were up 45 per cent at 1,526. Mr Sturgess said: "The like for like sales since July have been ahead of last year. The market is a little tougher, but that has mainly been in the secondhand housing market.

"Since July we have still been selling 40 or 50 houses a week. We do not see any signs of a housing downturn at the moment."

Galliford said it would also get more involved in regeneration and affordable housing schemes, in response to Government and market demands.

It was now working on 25 schemes across the country with registered social landlords, while Mr Sturgess said Galliford's skill at remediating brownfield sites stood it in good stead for further developments.

The group's building unit delivered profit from operations of £12.3 million on sales of £667 million.

It is now down to the last three in the tendering process for the Birmingham Schools Public Private Partnership, a £700 million scheme to refurbish secondary schools across the city.

Galliford and its equity investment backer Babcocks is competing with Bovis and a consortia of Land Securities and Norwich Union, with a decision expected early next year.

The company said the acquisition of Linden Homes in March significantly increased the group's market presence in the south and south east of England, enabling the firm to establish a target of completing 3,000 homes per annum.

The firm said Chartdale Homes, acquired in the previous financial year, exceeded expectations in its first full financial year since acquisition.

Analysts have, on the whole, been impressed by the way the newly acquired companies have bedded in and see Galliford's new initiatives as positive.

"The recent acquisitions have certainly enhanced the group's results and prospects. Strong management action has ensured that these companies have been integrated quickly," wrote Andy Brown, at Panmure Gordon.