Building and construction company Keller has turned in a 64 per cent rise in full-year profits reflecting an "exceptional" performance in the US.

The results also came as a result of strong organic growth across its overseas businesses.

In the Midlands, chief executive Justin Atkinson said the group was pleased with the performance of its foundation support division, which comes under the Keller Ground Engineering wing and employs around 200 people at Ryton in Coventry.

The operation had delivered a £2 million-to-£2.5 million piling work scheme to help create a venue at the Millennium Dome for the London Olympics. The project included work on the basketball and volleyball areas. Mr Atkinson said: "That is one example of a range of works carried out by the division and we are pleased with its performance," he said. The company expects strong market conditions to continue into 2006, although it cautioned it may not match last year's "exceptional result".

Keller made a full-year pretax profit of £48.8 million up from £29.7 million a year earlier, while sales rose 23 per cent to £73 million.

The group said the results reflected an exceptional performance in the US, where all four of its businesses "took full advantage of a strong market".

Mr Atkinson said: "2005 was an outstanding year for the group, in which we delivered excellent organic growth across our international markets and a substantial increase in profits."

The group did not expect US demand to abate in the first half of 2006 and nor did it expect major changes in its other principal markets.

That, together with a record current order book of over five months' sales "creates a positive outlook for the first half".

Mr Atkinson said that, while the 2005 result may not be repeated this year, the board was "confident that 2006 would be another good year for Keller".

The group will pay a full-year dividend per share of 12p, up ten per cent, from earnings per share up 73 per cent to 41.8p. Chairman Dr Michael West said the group's strategy would be unchanged with an aim of further consolidation of its "global leadership in specialist ground engineering services, through a combination of organic growth and targeted acquisitions".

He said the company made significant progress to that end in 2005.

In September it completed the acquisition of G. Donaldson Construction in the US for an initial consideration of $10.6 million (£5.8 million), preparing the ground for future growth by extending reach and product offering in the New England market.