German contractor Hochtief has been awarded a series of new contracts in Australia worth AU$ 775 million (US$ 774 million). The new work includes a contract to carry out substantial upgrades to the Sydney Opera House through Hochtief's Australia subsidiary Leighton.

The US$ 100 million (US$ 99.8 million) contract is the biggest single construction contract to be awarded for the iconic building since it was built in 1973.

Leighton's subsidiary John Holland will construct a new underground loading dock for the opera house. The roadway around the property will also be completely rebuilt to raise it and increase access to the building. Work will start in January, 2012.

Visionstream Australia, a subsidiary of Leighton Contractors, has also been awarded several new contracts. The company, which specialises in telecommunication projects, will construct a transit network and wireless telecommunications infrastructure for the Australian National Broadband Network.

Visionstream will also renew the Emergency Alerting System for the Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority (ESTA). The contracts have a combined total of AU$ 250 million (US$ 249.7 million).

Meanwhile, HWE Mining and Thiess, both subsidiaries of Leighton, were also awarded extensions of existing contract mining contracts. The companies will continue operating an iron ore mine in South Australia and a coalmine in Queensland for another year in deals worth a total of AU$ 425 million (US$ 424.6 million).

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