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Leighton profit bolstered by oil and gas

Improved margins helped takeover target Leighton Holdings boost its March quarter net profit by a robust 24 per cent to $152 million, running well ahead of the lift in revenue.

Margins rose by 0.5 percentage points to 2.8 per cent of revenue. Revenue in the quarter gained 7 per cent to $5.7 billion.

“This result was driven by strong performances in infrastructure and oil and gas construction, and our ongoing focus on margin expansion initiatives,” the chief executive, Mr Fernández Verdes, said.

“At the end of the quarter, our gearing had improved to 38.5 per cent from 47.2 per cent in the prior comparative period.

“We confirm our guidance range of 20 – 35% at year end.”

Also boosting earnings was a one third decline in capital spending.

“Subject to market conditions and unforeseen circumstances, we reiterate our market guidance to deliver an underlying net profit after tax in the range of $540 million to $620 million in 2014,” Mr Verdes said.