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Ausenco Shares Slump in Sydney After Company Reports First-Half Loss

Ausenco Ltd. slumped to a 14-month low in Sydney trading after the Australian engineering company forecast a first-half loss and full-year profit below analysts’ expectations.

Ausenco dropped 18 percent to A$2.49 at 11:40 a.m. local time on the Australian stock exchange. That’s the biggest decline in the Brisbane-based company since Feb. 24 last year.

Profit in the 12 months to Dec. 31 may be between A$13 million ($11 million) and $18 million, Ausenco said today. That compares with A$20.1 million in 2009 and the A$35 million median of eight analysts estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Project delays and higher costs reduced earnings, the company said.

“It’s a pretty significant downgrade versus consensus,” said John O’Shea, a Melbourne-based analyst for Bell Potter Securities Ltd. “Part of its share slump is market weakness, but the magnitude of the downgrade compared to what the market was expecting has come out of the blue.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Scott in Perth at Jscott14@bloomberg.net

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