Shares in Kier Group were up over four per cent on the FTSE 250 in afternoon trading after the construction company said that it expected full year underlying pre-tax profit to be "towards the upper end of current market expectations".

The group said that its net cash balances during the year had been strong and ended the financial year at a record £170 million, up from £93 million reported as of 30 June 2009.

Kier's Construction division performed well during the year, the company said, before adding that it had secured nearly 90 per cent of its targeted revenue for 2011.

Last week news that the government was cancelling the Building Schools for the Future programme led to fears that construction companies could be hit by the cancellation of projects. However Kier said that its exposure to the programme was "limited" and would "not have a material impact on our order book and probable orders".

In addition Kier said that its Finance Director, Deena Mattar, would be stepping down from her post in November. She is to be replaced by Haydn Mursell, currently Deputy Group Finance Director of Balfour Beatty.

In an outlook statement Kier said, "Whilst we continue to operate in a challenging environment, our integrated business model provides us with the ability to seek out and create new opportunities. By drawing on our strong relationships with clients, including local authorities, and bringing to them our development and financing skills we are able to offer solutions which few other single organisations are equipped to offer. These skills, combined with our comprehensive and widespread local network of regional offices; our strong track record of service delivery and the financial strength of Kier Group, continue to provide us with exciting new opportunities and give us confidence for the future."

By 14:03 shares in Kier Group were up 4.56 per cent to 986.00 pence per share on the FTSE 250.