Shares in Kier Group were up on the FTSE 250 in morning trading after the construction company reported a rise in pre-tax profit in the year ended 30 June.

Pre-tax profit was reported as being up 10.6 per cent to £58.4 million. The group said it would be raising its full year dividend by 5.5 per cent to 58.00 pence per share.

At the end of the year net cash was up from £92.5 million last year to £175.2 million. The group's order book declined slightly in value from last year, dropping from £4.5 billion to £4.2 billion.

Paul Sheffield, Chief Executive of Kier, said, "The year to 30 June 2010 has been another successful one for the Group. Underlying profit before tax is ahead of last year, revenues are at similar levels to last year and cash generation has been very strong, closing the year at a record balance.

"Kier continues to benefit from its established client relationships and financial strength and is well placed to attract work through its wide network of local offices and the numerous frameworks in which it is involved. Our construction order books of secure and probable contracts remain robust, much of it won through framework agreements, providing confidence that we can sustain healthy operating margins and strong cash flows. Our integrated business model provides us with unique opportunities drawing on the strength of our relationships with public and private sector clients and this has proved to be very resilient during the global economic slowdown. We are also encouraged by the prospects we see in markets such as power, utilities, waste and mixed-use regeneration schemes and overseas.

"We have a strong balance sheet, a good track record of service delivery and very talented, capable staff, all of which give us confidence that the Group will make further progress in the new financial year."

By 11:20 shares in Kier were up 4.58 per cent on the FTSE 250 to 1,120 pence per share.