Chairman steps down

Davies taking ‘decisive action’ as Kier plunges to £245m loss

Kier

New CEO faces a big turnaround task

Kier Group chief executive Andrew Davies accepted the scale of the task facing him as the firm slumped to a £245m pre-tax loss last year.

Mr Davies, who took over at the contractor in April , has already axed more than 5% of its workforce and is selling a number of businesses, including its housing arm, after blaming the firm’s buying spree of recent years for making the company too diverse.

Chairman Phil Cox is stepping down with immediate effect after two years in the role. Kier has begun the search for his successor.

Mr Davies said the company “experienced a difficult year, resulting in a disappointing financial performance”.

In a statement with annual figures, he said: “We are building firm foundations for the future: we have a new management team in place, we have defined our strategic priorities and we are taking decisive actions to deliver them.”

In the year to the end of June, Kier said exceptional items of £341m saw the firm plunge deep into the red from a £106m pre-tax profit last time.

Kier said £172m had been allocated against its up-for-sale businesses, which also include its property, FM and environmental services arms.

It added that a further £50m in exceptionals had come from contract losses with £44m of this attributed to its job to build a new hospital at Broadmoor in west London – a rise from the £25m hit it said it was taking in March – with the remainder coming from its job to build the Mersey Gateway bridge.

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