Macmahon construction deal with Leighton approved

By Helen Wright28 February 2013

Shareholders in Australian contractor Macmahon have voted overwhelmingly in favour of the sale of certain construction assets to majority shareholder Leighton for AU$ 20 million (US$ 21 million), rejecting multiple approaches by rival bidder Sembawang.

Leighton CEO Hamish Tyrwhitt said the bulk of the contracts would be moved to the John Holland business, expanding its presence in Australia’s Northern Territory.

"Following the shareholder approval and with the consent of Macmahon clients, which is progressing well, we are planning a seamless transition of the projects," said Mr Tyrwhitt.

For its part, Sembawang – which made three unsolicited offers for the same contracts that Leighton was targeting as well as Macmahon’s entire construction operations– said it had not been allowed access to key data. It said it awaited the crystallisation of the deal with Leighton, which is due to complete in the third quarter, adding ,“We’ll be back.”

Macmahon’s construction operations reported a net loss of AU$ 61 million (US$ 63 million) for the six months to 31 December, 2012 – a result which dragged the company to an overall loss of AU$ 38 million (US$ 39 million) for the period.

The contractor said the result confirmed its strategy of pursuing a future in mining and winding-down its construction operations.

Macmahon also said it expected its full year results to be further impacted by costs related to the sale and wind-down of its construction operations, leading to a forecast group net loss for 2013 of between AU$ 10 million (US$ 10 million) and AU$ 20 million (US$ 21 million).

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