Finance Finance News Leighton profit down 20%

Leighton profit down 20%

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Construction giant Leighton has suffered a 20 per cent slide in first half profit after writedowns and restructuring costs offset an increase in revenue.

The company made a net profit of $291 million for the six months to June 30, down from $366 million a year ago.
That was despite a five per cent lift in revenue to $11.05 billion for the period.

The profit result was affected by $28 million in property writedowns and restructuring costs, while the 2013 result had been skewed by a one-off $107 million gain from the sale of the group’s Telco assets.

But chief executive Marcelino Fernández Verdes praised the company’s performance during the half, noting that underlying profit and net margins increased while the group maintained its market share.

Leighton’s underlying profit, which excludes one-off items, was $319 million, which was up from $255 million a year ago.

The company reaffirmed its guidance for an underlying profit of between $540 million and $620 million for 2014.
Mr Fernández Verdes said the group was benefiting from Australian state and federal government’s increasing focus on infrastructure.

“We are already seeing the positive impact of the federal government’s infrastructure initiatives, with our 12-month tender pipeline approximately 33 per cent higher than the equivalent pipeline at the time of the FY13 result, and, looking further ahead, we have under preparation the largest pipeline of $1 billion-plus tenders in Leighton’s history,” he said.

Leighton lifted its interim dividend 12 cents to 57 cents per share, 25 per cent franked.