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Hochtief 'rock steady' despite 11.3pc fall in profit

Hochtief has reported an 11.3 per cent drop in pre-tax profit for the first half of 2009 but the German construction giant insists it is “rock steady” despite the current financial climate.

In the first half of 2009 the company recorded pre-tax profit of £223.4 million (EUR 259.3 million) compared with £251.8 million (EUR 292.2m) in the same period in 2008.

Hoctief’s Europe division has defied the downturn to post a EUR 10.1m profit before taxes – a marked improvement on EUR 25.7m loss recorded in the first half of 2008.

According to analysis by Reuters the company has exceeded investor expectations for Q2 2009.

Pre-tax profit in the three months through June dropped to EUR 161m compared with EUR 189m in the year-earlier period - more than the EUR 145m average estimate in a Reuters poll.

Its new orders totalled EUR 10.1 billion in the period under review, down 18.1 per cent on the same period in 2008 EUR 12.33bn.

The company said the fall in orders demonstrated a return to normal levels after a particularly strong 2008.

Hochtief said it is working on the assumption that the international financial and capital markets will normalise again from 2010.

It expects new orders, its order backlog and sales will steady at normal levels, below the high figures attained in 2008, while pre-tax and net profit will both reach similar levels to 2008.

This announcement comes a day after both the German and French economies officially exited a year-long recession with growth of 0.3 per cent between April and June.

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