Carillion signalled better times ahead in the construction sector as it announced that a scaling back in its UK building activities was "largely complete" and said the division was set for a return to revenue growth.
The Wolverhampton-based support services group began shrinking its British construction arm in 2010 as it looked to other markets for expansion amid tough conditions at home.
Revenues from the division have broadly-halved over the past two and a half years and a further 20% fall to £503.8 million for the first six months of this year was part of the planned cutting back, the company said.
But it added: "We believe that rescaling is now largely complete and expect second-half revenue in this segment to be higher than the first half."
Recent new orders include a £400 million contract at Battersea Power Station and £335 million worth of construction work as part of a public-private partnership (PPP) at Royal Liverpool Hospital.
Carillion said the shrinking of UK construction was the main reason for the 9% dip in half-year revenues to £1.96 billion for the wider group, compared with a year earlier.
It said it expected some opportunities for medium term growth, but that the market remained challenging.
The UK's beleaguered construction sector remains well below its pre-recession peak, although latest official figures show it grew 1.4% in the second quarter.
Its improvement has been led by house building, which has been supported by government initiatives, but the performance of infrastructure and private sector commercial work has been more subdued.
Underlying pre-tax profits at Carillion - which employs 40,000 people and operates across the UK, Canada and the Middle East - were up 2% to £73.5 million in the first six months of 2013.
Carillion's bottom line was bolstered by the sale of its investments in PPPs for £113 million, although this contributed to falling revenues.
The period saw a 14% drop in income from the UK Government to £886 million as its spending on support services and construction with the group fell sharply, as well as the drop in PPP revenues.
Revenues from support services were down 6% partly because of the loss of two major contracts taken in house at the end of 2012.
New work includes a joint venture contract to run property services for Stockport council.
Chairman Philip Rogerson said the first-half results were in line with expectations.
"Despite market conditions remaining challenging, new order intake was strong, with £2.9 billion of new orders and probable orders in the first half of the year."
He said the total value of the order book plus probable orders now stood at £18.4 billion.