A CONSTRUCTION and property group says the North-East will play a key role in its future after revealing a £6bn order book.

Kier Group, which has offices in Peterlee, east Durham, Newcastle and Hebburn, South Tyneside, says revenues increased to £1.4bn for the half-year to December 31, with underlying pre-tax profits rising 90 per cent to £36.8m.

Kier has carried out work on Durham Police's £14m headquarters, in Durham City, which will open this summer, and its property division is supporting North Tyneside Council on the £100m regeneration of the former Swan Hunter shipyard in Wallsend.

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Its Hebburn-based construction arm starts £60m work later this year on schools across Stockton, Redcar and Cleveland, Hartlepool and Sunderland.

Chief executive Paul Sheffield said he was pleased with the results, which were strengthened by last year's £221m deal to buy infrastructure firm May Gurney.

He said: “The underlying performance has been encouraging given the continuing financial pressures in the markets.

“We are also pleased with the May Gurney business' performance because it has consolidated the group’s position in support services for customers in the highways, transport and utilities sectors.

“We are seeing early signs of economic recovery and our growing order book of more than £6bn position us well for the future.”