(Reuters) - British infrastructure contractor Balfour Beatty <BALF.L> sank to a 26 million pound pretax loss in the first half of 2020 as the COVID-19 crisis hampered construction work at several sites across its business.
But the company said it expects its earnings-based businesses, which include UK construction, U.S. construction and support services, to recover steadily through second half of the year, with overall operating profit returning to levels roughly equivalent to that for 2019 next year.
Although Britain's construction industry expanded at the fastest rate in almost five years in July, according to a survey released last week, the sector has a long way to go before output returns to pre-COVID levels.
Balfour Beatty said its order book rose 20% to 17.5 billion pounds ($22.84 billion), helped by contracts for High Speed 2 - a rail line connecting London to northern England.
The London-headquartered company said it would look to re-instate dividend payments as soon as appropriate.
It reported a first-half profit of 63 million pounds last year.
(Reporting by Samantha Machado in Bengaluru; Editing by Aditya Soni)