Accounting error reveals Kier debt £50m higher than reported

Troubled contractor Kier has announced that an accounting error has led to it discovering its debt pile is £50m higher than previously thought.

The error in its half-year results at the end of December meant net debt was £181m rather than £130m. Kier said the figure arises from revised the classification of the debt associated with certain developments assets held for resale at 31 December 2018 totalling £40.2m and a £10m increase relating to the company’s hedging activities.

The company added that it has re-calculated its average month-end net debt for the six months ended 31 December 2018 as being c.£430m (from c.£370m).

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The company, which builds and maintains highways, railway tunnels and houses, is currently without a permanent boss after its chief executive Haydn Mursell was ousted by shareholder Neil Woodford in January. Chairman Philip Cox is currently taking on the executive role until a replacement for Mursell is found.

Despite the change the board said it remains on course to meet its FY19 expectations. It said: “Whilst the board notes the current political and economic uncertainty in the UK, and the implications for third party investment, the group remains on course to meet its underlying FY19 expectations, with the full-year results being weighted towards the second half of the financial year, as expected.”

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