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Leighton Drops After Quarterly Profit Cut on Airport

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Nov. 2 (Bloomberg) -- 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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