Record profits for German construction giant Hochtief

Record profits for German construction giant Hochtief
A Hochtief crane. Photo: dpa
Germany’s biggest construction company, Hochtief, said Wednesday that sales this year should surpass the record reached in 2007 and that net profit would also be higher than the previous year.

Hochtief confirmed the 2007 net profit figure of €140.7 million first released in February, and said sales had grown by 6.4 percent to €16.45 billion.

This year, “Hochtief anticipates that it will even surpass its record set in 2007,” a statement said.

Chairman Herbert Luetkestratkoetter was quoted as saying that “we now span the whole project life cycle and are raising profitability as a result.” The group took on a real estate unit last year to add to existing property management and development activities, along with an energy contracting division which it bought from the power group Vattenfall.

All of the group’s divisions contributed to the 2007 results, with the exception of its European unit, which generated a pretax loss of €149.4 million last year, owing mainly to “unexpectedly drastic price rises on construction materials and subcontracting.”

In Asia, Hochtief expanded via its Australian-based Leighton subsidiary, which acquired a 45 percent stake in Al Habtoor Engineering in the Gulf. The new Al Habtoor Leighton Group has launched a joint venture in the United Arab Emirates with a unit of the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority to provide construction management services for projects there.

Hochtief said it would propose an 18 percent increase in its dividend payment to €1.30, which would mean “a record dividend distribution of €91 million.”