MARKETS

Leighton reaffirms guidance

LEIGHTON Holdings has chalked up a first-quarter net profit after tax of $123 million and reaffirmed guidance, despite a drop in order book growth.

James McGrath
Leighton reaffirms guidance

It told the market today that it had booked the profit on the back of $5.4 billion in revenue, a gain of $300 million against the previous corresponding period.

Leighton’s NPAT margin increased from 1.9% for the 2012 full year to 2.3% for the first quarter.

Its work-in-hand figure rose to $42.2 billion, with over $4 billion awarded during the first quarter.

However, this was a drop of $1.3 billion on the December quarter, a reflection of recent softness in the construction and mining sectors, says Leighton chief executive Hamish Thyrwitt.

Fully owned subsidiary Thiess lost its contract to operate Xstrata's Collinsville coal mine in Queensland, while it also lost out in April when BHP Billiton decided to replace it with a smaller contractor to save costs at its Peak Downs coal mine in Queensland.

“It [the result] was delivered against the backdrop of a challenging macroeconomic environment especially in contract mining and some adverse weather conditions in Queensland and Western Australia,“ he said.

Thyrwitt said Leighton would dedicate itself to chasing high-margin work, which was demonstrated through a margin-in-hand book of over 10%.

The group is set to benefit from the sale of its telecommunications and infrastructure assets, with it set to pocket about $880 million for a 70% stake.

Despite the sale, Leighton has left full-year underlying NPAT of $520 million to $600 million, unchanged from previous guidance.

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