Kier Group boosted first-half profits as strong order books in its construction and support services divisions offset weakness in its housing business. Financial Times

Pre-tax profits at the engineer rose 23% to £44.6m (£36.2m) for the six months ended December 31. Turnover increased 18% to £1.2bn.

Kier is a diversified construction and engineering group whose activities range from coal mining to PFI projects, as well as a residential property business that accounts for a quarter of its profits.