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Leighton Unit Awarded A$1.2 Billion Contract for Ichthys Project

Leighton Holdings Ltd., Australia’s biggest construction company, won contracts worth a combined A$1.2 billion ($1.3 billion) for Inpex Corp.’s Ichthys liquefied natural gas project in northern Australia.

A unit of the Sydney-based company was awarded a A$923 million contract to develop infrastructure for the project’s onshore site near Darwin, and a four-year maintenance contract, Leighton, which is ultimately controlled by Madrid-based Actividades de Construccion y Servicios SA, said in a stock exchange filing.

The awards boost Leighton’s contracts from the oil and gas industry to more than A$4.5 billion, as Australia aims to surpass Qatar as the world’s biggest exporter of LNG by 2020. Leighton, which in May forecast profit of A$400 million to A$450 million in the year to Dec. 31, has fallen 6 percent this year and is on course for the third consecutive year of declines.

“We see the LNG and coal seam methane markets offering significant opportunities for the Leighton Group,” Leighton Chief Executive Officer Hamish Tyrwhitt said in the statement.

Ichthys is a $34 billion project between Inpex and Total SA. The venture, with a planned capacity of 8.4 million metric tons a year, is expected to start production by the end of 2016 and is among more than A$200 billion of planned LNG projects in the country.

Leighton rose 0.3 percent to A$17.89 in Sydney compared with a 0.5 percent gain for the benchmark S&P/ASX 200 Index.

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