German construction group postpones Australian share offer

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Germany's second-biggest construction group, Bilfinger Berger, said Monday it will push back a planned new share offer by its Australian unit that was set to be a key test of the Australian market.

"Due to negative developments on the capital markets, Bilfinger Berger has decided to postpone the Initial Public Offering of its Australian subsidiary," a statement said.

"Bilfinger Berger's asking price for the Australian business cannot realistically be achieved in light of the current adverse conditions on the stock exchange," it quoted chairman Herbert Bodner as saying.

In Sydney, the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 index has fallen by nearly 13 percent since the end of last year.

Bilfinger, the second largest German construction company behind Hochtief, had hoped to raise up to 1.4 billion dollars (1.1 billion euros) through the sales of shares in its Valemus subsidiary.

But Bodner stressed that "we are not under pressure to sell and have always emphasised that we would not part with our successful Australian business at an undervalued price."

Shares in the German group shed 2.99 percent to 43.02 euros in late Frankfurt trade, while the MDax index on which they are listed was 0.20 percent higher overall.

© 2010 AFP

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