Leighton profit slumps on falling revenue

Construction giant Leighton Holdings has seen its profit slump by two-thirds on a 10 per cent slide in revenue.

The multi-national builder reported a net profit of $115 million in the six months to June 30, down from $340 million in the previous six months.

However, Leighton's management says this is in line with a previously downgraded guidance given in March 2012.

It is also a big improvement on the company's $625.6 million loss in the same period last year, which was affected by large write-downs.

The steep decline in profit was precipitated by a 10.4 per cent fall in revenue to $9.1 billion, total revenue including joint ventures and partnerships was around $11 billion which was 9 per cent down.

Leighton has been hit by delays and cost blowouts which earlier forced write-downs on its Brisbane Airport Link and Victorian desalination projects.

However, the company says the completion of the Airport Link and progress on the desalination plant should improve its second half results, resulting in a net profit of $400-450 million for the 2012 calendar year.

Leighton's chief executive Hamish Tyrwhitt says there is more than enough engineering and construction work on offer.

"Contrary to commentary suggesting a decline in investment activity in Australia, our addressable markets have never been stronger," he said in the report.

"Indeed, rational sequencing to some of the mega-projects in this country will assist us by reducing the costs of labour and equipment, and by ensuring the existence of a longer-term sustainable market." The company's directors have declared an unfranked dividend of 20 cents per share payable on September 28.

Leighton shares were down more than 4 per cent to $16.03 by 10:20am (AEST).

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