The construction company behind a £3.7m YMCA accommodation development in Norwich today said it was weathering the economic storm after posting “solid” half-year results.

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Morgan Sindall Group, which also has Norwich-based division Lovell, saw its operating profits fall by £1m to £8.5m in its half year results because of downward pressure on prices and bidding margins.

The group said half-year revenues slipped 8pc to £1bn, however underlying profits lifted 4pc to £20.3m thanks to improved returns in its investment division and a big rise in profits in urban regeneration after it turned a number of “marginal” projects into viable schemes with help from Government initiatives.

The group also reported a sound order book of £3.2bn, supplemented by a £1.8bn pipeline of regeneration schemes, with a further £600m at preferred developer stage. The Lovell order book now stands at £1.4bn.

Stewart Davenport, Lovell managing director said: “Despite difficult trading conditions, our sales are in line with 2011 and we have a solid order book and project pipeline. Our prospects remain good for the second half of this year, with Lovell continuing to focus on mixed-tenure regeneration where we see future demand for affordable housing and long-term investment value. This is an important growth area for us and one in which we are well-positioned to develop with our specialist urban regeneration and development partners. Our planned and responsive maintenance business continues winning long-term work with a number of significant repairs and maintenance framework contracts secured this year.”

Key projects for Lovell in the region include the £3.7m new move-on accommodation scheme of 40 bedsits for YMCA Norfolk in Bethel Street in Norwich, a £7.7m design and build development of 38 affordable homes and 25 properties for open market sale for Victory Housing Trust in Horsford, a £3m development of 30 homes with care flats and ancillary facilities for Wherry Housing Association in Aylsham and a £1m scheme of eight affordable homes for Broadland Housing Association in Fulmodeston and Barney.

The company is also involved in a £3.9m new housing development at Blakenham Fields in Great Blakenham, Suffolk of 40 homes for outright sale on the former site of the Masons Cement Works and the second phase of the development will deliver the 40 homes for open market sale.

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