CORRECTED-UPDATE 2-Hochtief offers $1.05 bln to raise Leighton stake to 74 pct, steer strategy

lunes 10 de marzo de 2014 11:32 CET

(Corrects percentage of ACS stake in Hochtief in paragraph 5)

* Conditional off-market offer would raise stake from 59 pct

* Hochtief seeks more directors, business structure review

* Shares surge 11 pct on A$22.15 cash per share offer

By Maggie Lu Yueyang

SYDNEY, March 10 (Reuters) - German builder Hochtief AG plans to spend over $1 billion to lift its majority stake in Australia's Leighton Holdings Ltd, seeking to push through restructuring at a business that already delivers most of Hochtief's profit.

Hochtief, which currently owns 58.77 percent of Leighton, said on Monday it aims to raise its holding in Australia's biggest builder to 74.23 percent for A$1.155 billion ($1.05 billion) in an off-market offer that requires regulatory approval. Leighton's shares jumped 11 percent on the news.

Germany's biggest builder said it wants more seats on Leighton's board to reflect the bigger stake. Hochtief said it would work with the board to review operations, focusing on "whether existing businesses of Leighton can be more efficiently structured".

The offer comes a year after Leighton's former chairman quit in a row with Hochtief, saying he felt the German builder no longer supported his company's independence. Leighton reported a 30 percent jump in its full-year profits last month, benefiting from a building recovery in Australia, and also has a strong pipeline of projects in Asia.   Continuación...