Impregilo reports first half loss

By Helen Wright30 August 2012

Italian contractor Impregilo reported a net loss of €29 million for the first six months of 2012, compared to profit of €39 million for the same period last year, after its results were hit by problems on the Panama Canal expansion project in Central America.

Impregilo was part of a four-company consortium that was awarded the US$3.2 billion (€2.5 billion) contract to construct a new system of locks for the Panama Canal in 2009.

Construction work, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2014, has been hit by problems in the first stage of full-scale production, according to the company, requiring significant changes to the estimates on which the early phases of the project had been based.

Impregilo's long-running legal troubles relating to waste contracts in southern Italy also continued to impact results, and a number of criminal and civil lawsuits are still pending over the disputed MSW projects in Campania. The contractor said this issue continued to represent "a critical factor for group operations."

Indeed, the problems in Campania dragged the company's discontinued operations division to a loss of €2.9 million for the first six months of the year, compared to profit of €13.1 million for the same period last year.

Meanwhile, Impregilo's revenues rose to €1.2 billion for the first half, compared to €1 billion a year ago. This included €954.4 million earned outside its domestic market, up from €782 million earned abroad in the first half of 2011, and primarily reflected growth in the infrastructures sector, according to the company.

Change of control

Under its new management - Impregilo's board was
taken over by privately-owned Italian contractor Salini in July after a long and hostile battle - the company plans to target more and more large international infrastructure contracts.

In July, Pietro Salini was appointed CEO of Impregilo and Claudio Costamagna became the company's new chairman. Part of the new strategy for the company also involves the sale of non-core assets, but no further details on these plans - including the future of Impregilo's stake in Brazilian road operator Ecorodovias - have been released.

Looking ahead, Impregilo said the situation in both its domestic and international markets would remain complex for the rest of 2012, with no prospects for a short-term recovery.

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