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Downer makes instrumental acquisition

The services firm said it had signed a conditional agreement to acquire Corke Ltd, which provides specialist industrial instrumentation services to sectors including metal refining, oil and gas, public infrastructure and petrochemicals.Corke has around 300 employees and last year had a turnover to June 20 of more than $50 million. Downer chief executive Geoff Knox said the acquisition was consistent with the company’s strategy of seeking bolt-on investment opportunities. The company’s clients include majors like BHP Billiton and Xstrata, with Downer booking a net profit after tax of $85.4 million in the second half of 2008, up 4% on the corresponding period in 2007. Turnover was up 6% to $2.9 billion, while earnings before interest and tax came to $138.5 million, also up 6%. Downer also has some $11.5 billion in its order book.

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