KIER Group has highlighted the improving prospects for the construction industry as it posted a 90% increase in underlying profits in the second half of 2013.

The construction and property services group, which completed the acquisition of May Gurney in July, reported pre-tax profits of £36.8 million for the six months to December 31. This was before exceptional items totalling £22m.

Kier saw group revenue rise to £1.4 billion from £1bn in the same period in 2012 as it won major contracts in Scotland.

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Brian McQuade, managing director for Kier in Scotland and the north east of England, said: "The outlook for the construction sector is looking increasingly optimistic and this is mirrored in our own business where we are shaping up for sustainable growth this year.

"We have secured significant new contracts in Scotland in recent months and have a strong order book and a healthy cash balance."

Kier, which has offices in Glasgow and Aberdeen, has been appointed to Frameworks Scotland 2, which will deliver £600m of construction, renovation and maintenance projects for the NHS over the next six years. It has been appointed to the Highlands and Islands Property Prime Contractors Framework and was appointed a stakeholder in Hub South-West Scotland, which will preside over £400m of infrastructure investment in the next decade.

Kier recently completed work on an integrated campus for a mainstream and an additional support needs school in East Kilbride. Current projects include an £8m student accommodation project in Glasgow, and a £6m science and technology teaching facility for Robert Gordon's College in Aberdeen. It is poised to work on a £9.5m extension to the Robert Gordon University campus.