Construction giant Leighton Holdings is on track to make a profit of up to $600 million this year but the company says its current debt levels are higher than expected.
Leighton made a net profit of $444 million in the nine months to September 30, which is 40 per cent higher than in the same period in the previous year.
Underlying profit, which excludes one-off items, was up 65 per cent to $389 million.
The company says it is on track for a full year underlying profit between $520 million and $600 million.
But chief executive Hamish Tyrwhitt said Leighton’s current gearing level of 39 per cent was higher than the company expected.
“We continue to forecast year-end gearing will be within the band of 25-35 per cent, however we are currently above where we expected it to be at this stage of the year,” he said.
“The final position will depend on the success of our working capital improvement initiatives.”
Mr Tyrwhitt admitted recent reports relating to alleged corruption by Leighton’s international business had hurt the company.
“Recoveries in Iraq have been delayed, in part, due to the damage created by the recent media campaign conducted by the Fairfax Group,” he said.