Hochtief hopeful of US stimulus work

By Steve Skinner15 May 2009

Dr.-Ing. Herbert Lütkestratkötter, chairman of the executive board and CEO, Hoctief

Dr.-Ing. Herbert Lütkestratkötter, chairman of the executive board and CEO, Hoctief

Hochtief increased its order backlog by +7,6% to € 31,3 billion in the first quarter of 2009, up from € 29 billion 12 months previously. The company also said it was bidding on work related to the US stimulus package.

"Our order books are full and we have secured more than 19 months of work at full capacity," said Dr Herbert Lütkestratkötter, Hochtief chairman.

"Although today's economic climate is not suited to setting new records, our positioning is strong across the globe - and especially robust in segments that will benefit from special economic stimulus programmes.

"In the US we are already seeing concrete projects in the bid phase which are being financed mainly through the US economic stimulus package," he added.

First quarter

The group reported first quarter sales of € 4,4 billion, up +15,8% on the € 3,8 billion recorded 12 months earlier. Earnings before interest, taxes and amortisation (EBITA) climbed +7,7% from € 132 million in 2008 to € 142, while pre-tax profits fell -4,6% to € 98,6 million, down from € 103 million 12 months previously.

A statement said the gap between EBITA and pre-tax profits was attributable to a decrease in profits from some of Hochtief's minority interests.

Hochtief increased sales in all areas in the first quarter with revenues in the Asia-Pacific division growing +41,7% to € 1,7 billion, up from € 1,2 billion 12 months earlier. Despite the increase in sales, pre-tax profits for the division slipped -14,2% to € 71 million, down from € 83 million 12 months earlier due to exchange rates and financing costs associated with borrowings for the share issue at Leighton.

Hochtief Europe increased first quarter sales by +8,4% to € 535 million, up from € 494 million in 2008 and in so doing the division returned to profitability. Pre-tax profit for the quarter of € 5,2 million followed a -€ 9,4 million loss in 2008.

In the Americas division, the group reported +0,5% growth in sales to € 1,73 billion, up from € 1,72 billion 12 months previously. Pre-tax profits for the quarter jumped +30% to € 21 million, up from € 16 million 12 months earlier.

Sales of € 38,3 million in the concessions division represented a +0,3% increase on the € 38,2 reported in 2008, while pre-tax profits for the division fell -62% to € 10 million, down from € 27,5 million 12 months earlier.

A statement said the fall was representative of an extraordinary 2008 result.

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