Hochtief issues profit warning

By Helen Wright07 April 2011

German contractor Hochtief has issued a profit warning after its Australian subsidiary, Leighton, requested a trading halt in its shares.

Leighton said it needed to review the earnings guidance that it published on 24 February, but gave no further details on the reasons. It said it would publish more information on the review before its shares start trading again on 11 April.

Parent company Hochtief said it expected "significant adverse effects" on its forecast for 2011 as a result of the review and suspension in Leighton share trading.

On 24 February, Leighton reported a -25% drop in net profit for the six months ended 31 December 2010 to AU$ 216.7 million (US$ 227 million). It said the decline reflected difficult local and international trading conditions in addition to slower than expected new work at its Middle East business unit, Habtoor Leighton Group, which resulted in an AUS 103.3 million (US$ 108.3 million) impairment.

Leighton chief financial officer Peter Gregg forecast net profit of AU$ 480 million (US$ 503 million) for the full year to June 2011.

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