HAMPSHIRE shipbuilding and support services specialist VT Group posted a profit rise of 22.9 per cent to £36m on a turnover of £466.7m.

The Hedge End based company said it expected announcements on three military private finance initiative projects in the next six months, including Britain's £13 billion Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft programme for which VT is part of a consortium that has been selected as preferred bidder.

Shipbuilding accounted for about 15 percent of revenues in the half year at VT, formerly Vosper Thornycroft, which is working on projects including Type 45 destroyers for the Royal Navy.

A board statement said: "The Group is in sound financial condition with a growing order book."