German contractor Hochtief has reported a full-year 2011 net loss of €168 million, deeper than the €160 million loss it forecast earlier in February, and a significant drop compared to the €546.3 million profit recorded in 2010.

The year was marked by costly project overruns and write-downs at Hochtief's Australian subsidiary, Leighton, as well poor returns from its Middle Eastern investment, Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG).

At the same time, however, some of Hochtief's other operating businesses performed well during the year.

Hochtief Americas reported gross profit of €142.4 million for 2011, compared to restated gross profit of €126.5 million the previous year. The division's sales slipped to €6.2 billion, compared to €6.4 billion in 2010.

The company also created a new Hochtief Europe division, which since the start of the year has included its public-private partnership activities.

For the 12 months to 31 December, 2011, Hochtief Europe reported gross profit of €93.1 million, compared to restated profit of €82.5 million in 2010, on division sales of €3.3 billion, up €657 million year-on-year.

Meanwhile, Hochtief Asia Pacific, which includes HLG and Leighton, reported a gross loss of €285.4 million last year, compared to restated gross profit of €512.7 million in 2010. The division's sales rose to €13.6 billion from €10.3 billion in 2010.

Finally, Hochtief concessions reported gross profit of €3.6 million, down from €84.3 million in 2010 on divisional sales of €66.2 million in 2011, compared to €112.1 million the year before.

Positive outlook

Hochtief - which is majority owned by Spanish contractor ACS - said its order backlog rose to €48.7 billion, compared to €47.5 billion in 2010, while work done reached €25.8 billion, compared to €23.3 billion in 2010.

The company said it expected 2012 to be a positive year, forecasting net profit to be "slightly below" 2010 levels.

Looking further ahead, Frank Stieler, chairman of Hochtief's executive board, said the company planned to grow its work done by 40% in the energy sector and 30% in transportation infrastructure in the next five years.

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