Hochtief optimistic for 2010

By Steve Skinner25 March 2010

Dr Lütkestratkötter, chairman and CEO at Hochtief

Dr Lütkestratkötter, chairman and CEO at Hochtief

Hochtief reported sales of € 18,1 billion in 2009, down -2,8% on the € 18,7 billion recorded in 2008. However pre-tax profits jumped +20,8% to € 600 million, up from € 496 million 12 months ago.

Along with improved profitability, the German contractor's order backlog climbed to a record breaking € 35,6 billion, up +15% on the € 25 billion recorded at the end of 2008. The order backlog now represents almost 21 months of work.

Commenting on the 2009 results, chairman of the board Herbert Lütkestratkötter said, "In 2009 we attained or exceeded all of our targets. We were even able to raise our forecast for the order backlog during the year."

Mr Lütkestratkötter said that Hochtief had placed its business on a broader footing through strategic acquisitions and expansion into new growth markets in 2009. "We have purposefully built up a diversified capability portfolio and we are pioneers, with innovations ranging from green building to energy-efficient operation. The outcome of this is a combination of strengths that makes us exceptionally resilient."

Looking forward, Mr Lütkestratkötter said, "Projections are still difficult. It currently appears that the global economic recession has bottomed out. We nonetheless anticipate only a slow recovery in 2010. On the assumption that markets in 2010 will normalise, we forecast that new orders and order backlog may drop slightly from the 2009 highs, that sales will be on par with the past 12 months and that profits will again rise, albeit not at 2009's +20% level.

"In the medium term, we are aiming for pre-tax profits of € 1 billion and we are confident of attaining this goal because we have completed loss-making projects, honed our access to attractive markets and streamlined our organisation to improve contract award rates and margins."

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