Cimic Profit Rises, Cash Pile Boosts Shareholder Returns

By David WinningFeaturesDow Jones Newswires

Construction and engineering contractor Cimic Group Ltd. (CIM.AU) reported a 22% rise in half-year net profit, and said a swelling cash pile was helping to underpin a significant expansion of its shareholder returns.

Cimic reported a net profit of 322.9 million Australian dollars (US$252 million) for the six months through June, up from A$265.2 million a year earlier. Cimic is majority owned by Germany's Hochtief AG (HOT.XE), which is controlled by Spain's Actividades de Construccion y Servicios S.A. (ASC.MC).

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The company, which acquired companies including engineering services company UGL Ltd. and mineral processing company Sedgman in 2016, said its work in hand rose to A$35.2 billion at the end of June. That was up A$1.1 billion on three months earlier, and is equivalent to more than two years' revenue.

"Through continually evolving how we deliver projects, we are achieving favorable outcomes for clients which improves the position of our Group to win further work," said Executive Chairman Marcelino Fernández Verdes. "We have also substantially increased our net cash position, which allows us to better reward shareholders and more efficiently allocate capital."

Cimic said its net cash totaled A$608 million at the end of June, rising by A$330 million on three months earlier.

Directors of the company declared an interim dividend of A$0.60 per security, well above the A$0.48 payout at the same stage of the 2016 fiscal year.

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(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 17, 2017 19:06 ET (23:06 GMT)