German construction group Hochtief says harsh winter hurt profit

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Germany's biggest public works group, Hochtief, was hit by a particularly harsh winter but said Monday it would nonetheless maintain its full-year earnings target.

The company posted a 12 percent drop in first-quarter net profit to 34.1 million euros (41.9 million dollars) while new orders were down 21 percent from a year earlier to 3.45 billion euros.

In addition to work halted in Germany owing to the weather, Hochtief also reported delays in the confirmation of major Asian-Pacific contracts.

The group still has a total of 36.74 billion euros in orders however, and first-quarter sales edged up to 4.45 billion euros from 4.40 billion euros a year earlier.

For 2010, it expects a "slight" increase in new orders, stable sales, and a "slight improvement" in pre-tax profit from the 2009 level of 600 million euros.

© 2010 AFP

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