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Basil Read has posted its biggest annual loss as confidence in SA’s construction sector ebbed to a record low in the first quarter of calendar 2018. A net loss of R1bn for the year to December 2017 from a net loss of R89.5m in 2016 resulted in auditors PwC flagging material uncertainty about the firm’s ability to continue as a going concern. The operating loss was R743m from a profit of R63.7m in 2016. But the group’s order book crept up to R12.6bn from R12.3bn in 2016. However, Jason Muscat, senior economic analyst at FNB Economics, said earlier this week it was likely the construction sector would remain pressured in 2018. Basil Read CEO Khathutshelo Mapasa said on Wednesday the firm was fighting back and trimming its road-building operations in a highly competitive market to focus more on mining projects, mixed housing developments and selected civil construction work. “We are not preparing results as if we are going into business rescue or liquidation,” Mapasa said. He said mini...

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