Hochtief plans multi-million Canada, India takeovers

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The biggest German construction group, Hochtief, plans to make acquisitions in Canada and India totalling hundreds of millions of euros, boss Frank Stieler said in an interview published Saturday.

Stieler told the weekly Wirtschaftswoche that the company had "absolutely no fear" of the economic crisis, saying, "We are well equipped globally and we have been able to protect Hochtief thanks to activities less vulnerable to the situation."

"Very soon we're going to acquire a construction company on the west coast of Canada which has a turnover of well over 100 million euros," he said. "We are also looking at buying a building engineering group in India -- another purchase in the hundreds of millions of euros."

In August Hochtief reported a quarterly net profit of 13.8 million euros ($20 million), which was better than forecast despite weather-related problems in Australia.

The company maintained its 2011 targets, including a pre-tax profit half the 2010 figure of 756.6 million euros, but a net profit that exceeds the previous year figure of 546 million euros.

Hochtief itself was victim of a hostile takeover earlier this year by Spanish giant Actividades de Construccion y Servicios (ACS), but Stieler, who was appointed in May, said their activities were totally independent.

© 2011 AFP

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