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Leighton maintains 15% profit forecast

The construction giant said its work in hand had grown to $35.3 billion as at September 30, 2008, and since then the group had won around $2.4 billion worth of work. However, Leighton chairman David Mortimer said the company’s results for the first quarter of fiscal 2009 had been negatively impacted by the deterioration in asset values.“We expect the profit result for the 2008-09 half year to be similar to the previous half year after taking into account current asset pricing,” Mortimer said. “We still expect an increase in revenue for 2009 of around 15 per cent and an increase in net profit after tax for the 2009 financial year of 15 per cent. “The result is of course subject to the vagaries of the market and the impact that could have on asset values.” Mortimer said Leighton’s total revenue for the 2008 financial year, including joint ventures and associates, was up 22% to $14.5 billion. “The group’s 2008 result was based on good contributions from a number of large construction projects in Australia and the Gulf, another solid property development performance and the contract mining of iron ore and coal in Australia and Indonesia,” he said. “The 2008-09 financial year has also started positively for the group with total revenue for the first quarter to 30 September 2008 up 32 per cent to $4.1 billion.” Leighton chief executive Wal King said in his presentation to shareholders that the Leighton Group was well positioned to ride through the current financial market turmoil and emerge stronger. “Investment on infrastructure is forecast to stay at historically high levels fuelled by existing funding commitments and boosted by the bringing forward of many national infrastructure projects by the federal government,” King said. “Spending on transport and water projects in the capital cities and on a number of major hospitals will provide a solid base for increased activity levels. “A recent highlight was the award to Thiess John Holland of the $4 billion Airport Link project in Brisbane which includes a 6.7-kilometre multi-lane toll road.” King said Thiess was also awarded a $721 million contract in October to design and construct the Royal North Shore Hospital Project, reportedly the largest health public-private partnership ever undertaken in New South Wales. “This project includes a facilities management contract worth $400 million over the 28-year concession,” King said.