Leighton Falls Most in Six Months After Cutting Forecast on Project Delays

Leighton Holdings Ltd., Australia’s biggest construction company, plunged the most in almost six months in Sydney trading after forecasting an A$85 million ($84.7 million) cut to first-quarter profit.

The Sydney-based company fell 7 percent to A$33.75 at the 4:10 p.m. local time close on the Australian stock exchange. That’s the most since May 17.

Leighton will post an after-tax profit for the three months to Sept. 30 of A$47 million, Chief Executive Wal King said in a statement today, citing delays and increased costs at the A$4 billion Airport Link project in Brisbane, the strength of the local currency and reduced earnings from a rail project.

The expected profit from the sale of a 35 percent stake in Leighton’s Indian operations will more than offset the cut to earnings in the quarter, King said. The company expects full- year operating profit after tax of A$510 million on revenue of about A$20 billion, he said.

The Airport Link project is more than 60 percent complete and is expected to be finished in mid-2012, King said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jason Scott in Perth at jscott14@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Andrew Hobbs in Sydney at ahobbs4@bloomberg.net

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