Government projects to build new schools and hospitals in Britain and new roads in continental Europe, are set to boost John Laing as the company increased its first half profits.
The project manager, which specialises in investing in, developing and operating public infrastructure projects, said profit before tax rose 38 per cent to £13.8 million in the six months to June 30.
Turnover dropped to £ 192 . 3 million from £259.2 million, reflecting completion of the construction phase on accommodation projects in the second half of 2004, which have now become fully operational.
Chief executive Andy Friend said the private finance initiative (PFI), in which the Government works with private sector firms on projects, was set to account for around ten per cent of all public sector net investment in the current parliament.
Demand for new schools and hospitals was particularly strong, he added.
Laing said the value of its portfolio of investments rose an underlying nine per cent to £335 million in the six months to June 30. It raised its interim dividend nine per cent to 1.2p.
Laing, which also runs Chiltern Railways, raised £95 million in a rights issue earlier this year to strengthen its position to invest in new projects.
It said its rail division traded well during the period and achieved pretax profits of £4.8 million before accounting for new franchise bid costs.