Hochtief says worries in Oz will not change 2010 forecasts

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The German construction group Hochtief stood by its full-year forecasts on Tuersday despite problems with a contract in Australia.

Hochtief said it still expected a gain in pre-tax and net profits from the 2009 levels of 600 million euros (836 million dollars) and 195 million euros, respectively.

The German group also said it had "made provisions at an early stage in line with its conservative accounting practice" owing to problems faced by its Australian division Leighton at an airport road link in Brisbane.

"Any effects beyond this are offset by the good operative development of other corporate divisions of the Hochtief group and the strong Australian dollar," a statement said.

The Airport Link project is estimated at a total four billion Australian dollars or around 2.8 billion euros but is running behind schedule.

Meanwhile, Hochtief is threatened by a hostile takeover offer from its dominant shareholder, the Spanish construction group ACS.

Hochtief is trying to force ACS to also make an offer for Leighton, which would make the takeover cost much more.

© 2010 AFP

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