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Leighton to expand India presence

Leighton to expand India presence
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First Published: Fri, Aug 15 2008. 12 35 AM IST
Updated: Fri, Aug 15 2008. 12 35 AM IST
Melbourne: Australia’s largest engineering and construction company, Leighton Holdings Ltd, plans to raise A$700 million (about Rs2,600 crore) selling shares to expand contract mining in India, Indonesia and Australia.
Leighton, which gets about a quarter of its sales operating mines for companies such as BHP Billiton Ltd, will sell stock to shareholders at A$35.35 apiece, 17% less than its close on Wednesday, the Sydney-based company said.
Chief executive officer Wal King, 64, forecast profit will rise at least 15% this year as a resources boom continues into the next decade. Demand for coal and iron ore sent prices to records this year, encouraging investment in new mines in Asia. “The upside is very strong indeed,” said Peter Russell, head of research at brokerage Intersuisse Ltd. “Demand for commodities is not suddenly going to decrease.”
Leighton said it will use the money to invest in plant and equipment in Indonesia, Australia and India.
Indonesia is the second biggest coal exporter after Australia. India is the No. 3 iron ore exporter behind Brazil and Australia.
“Strong demand for global commodities continues to support contract mining activity and resources-related opportunities for the group,” the company said on Thursday.
Mining and resources generated 25% of Leighton’s sales in the year ended 30 June, behind engineering and infrastructure’s 42% share.
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First Published: Fri, Aug 15 2008. 12 35 AM IST