Hochtief reports profit rise and European reorganisation

11th November 2010, Comments 0 comments

German construction group Hochtief reported on Thursday a 17-percent third-quarter net profit gain and a reorganisation in Europe as it tries to fight off a takeover move by one of its shareholders, ACS of Spain.

The company, anxious to prevent ACS from seizing control at a diminished price, said it was considering acquisitions in India and Canada and wanted to boost the installation of sea-based wind turbines, a market it described as "booming."

In Europe it plans to merge several divisions into a single unit in hopes of saving 40 million euros a year.

The company reported net earnings in the July-September period of 143 million euros (196 million dollars). Profit before taxes edged up 1.0 percent from third quarter 2009 to 430 million euros.

In its defence against ACS, Hochtief is trying to force the Spanish group to make a bid for Hochtief's Australian subsidiary Leighton, thereby increasing the price and possibly discouraging ACS.

ACS, Spain's biggest construction company, already holds just under 30 percent of Hochtief and wants to take a majority holding to create what would be the world's leading building firm.

However, the Spanish company offered a price below Hochtief's current market value and the German group has rejected the takeover offer.

© 2010 AFP

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