Leighton Quarterly Loss Narrows; Holds To 2012 Profit Guidance
First Published Tuesday, 8th May 2012 12:41 am - © 2012 Dow Jones
MELBOURNE -(Dow Jones)- Construction firm and mining contractor Leighton Holdings Ltd. (LEI.AU) Tuesday posted a sharply narrowed loss for the first quarter and said it was holding to recently reduced earnings guidance for the year despite a deterioration in the performance of two troubled Australian projects.
Leighton said it had a net loss of A$81 million on revenue of A$5.09 billion in the first three months of the year, compared with a year-earlier loss of A$599 million on revenue of A$4.06 billion.
The company reconfirmed guidance given late last month that scaled back its earnings projections to reflect further cost rises and delays at multi-billion dollar contracts for work on a Brisbane airport-link project and a desalination plant in Victoria state. Profit before capital gains and impairment charges is expected to be between A$400 million and A$450 million for the year, rather than the A$600 million-A$650 million the company had previously forecast.
Chief Executive Hamish Tyrwhitt said that he was disappointed with the results from the two projects, which detracted from the otherwise sound performance of the business.
"Despite these losses, the portfolio of projects is performing well," he said, adding Leighton has work in hand of about A$45 billion and a further A$11.5 billion that runs out beyond five years.
Leighton has moved to a calendar year for its results to bring them into line with majority owner Hochtief AG (HOT.XE) and its parent Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA (ACS.MC).
The company in March dropped KPMG as its long-serving auditor and separately, without admitting liability, accepted a A$300,000 penalty imposed by the Australian Securities and Investments Commission for alleged infringements of continuous disclosure to investors. Australian federal police in February launched an investigation after Leighton notified authorities of a possible illegal payment by one of its subsidiaries linked to work expanding Iraq's crude-oil export facilities.
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