Hochtief reported a steady start to the year with first half earnings before taxes up to June 30, 2014, at €296 million, up 11% compared to the same period in 2013.

Operational net profit increased by 38% to €116 million. However, reported net profit was down 20% to €100.5 million. This decline was in part due to €42 million in net positive one-off effects.

Work done and new business also showed promise. On a like-for-like basis, the German contractor said new orders were 5% up on the previous year's figure.

Like-for-like work done also gained, with an increase of 5% in the first half of 2014. Hochtief’s order backlog totalled nearly €40 billion.

Marcelino Fernández Verdes, chairman of the Hochtief executive board, said, “The figures show that, both strategically and operationally, we are well on track and the trend is consistently positive.”

In Europe, Hochtief secured a number of big contracts during the first half of 2014, including a large work package in the construction of a hydro power plant in Austria for €132 million, expansion of the subway network in Copenhagen for € 150 million, and a public-private partnership (PPP) contract to widen the A7 freeway from Hamburg to Schleswig-Holstein.

Internationally, the firm’s subsidiary Leighton Asia is to construct the passenger clearance building for the large-scale Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge project in a contract worth €759 million. A consortium led by Leighton Contractors and John Holland was selected as preferred bidder to deliver another package at the biggest PPP rail project in Australia.

Hochtief forecasts an increase in net profit for the year with figures expected in the range of €225 to 250 million.

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