Leighton Holdings has responded to a ‘please explain’ letter from the Australian Securities Exchange by saying it told the ASX as soon as was aware that it was going to report a full-year loss.
Leighton was asked when it first became aware of the downgrade and massive write-downs on projects it has announced.
Its shares were down 28 cents, or 1.13 per cent, at $24.59 at 1023 AEST.
The nation’s biggest construction company expects to book its first full-year loss in 25 years.
Last week it forecast a full year loss of $427 million, a $907 million turnaround in a month from forecasts in March of a net profit for 2010/11 of $480 million.
Under ASX rules, a company must immediately tell the exchange about any information expected to have a material effect on its shares.
Leighton secretary Ashley Moir said in the letter that the company had flagged concerns about its projects in February, but a review it then began was not complete until a board meeting on April 11.
“At all times the Company has been mindful of its continuous disclosure obligations,” he said.
“At this point the Company immediately made an announcement to the ASX regarding the earnings downgrade, prior to the commencement of trading on 11 April 2011.”
It is trying to raise $757 million in a new share sale, with its shares having fallen to almost two year lows.
The hit to the company’s fortunes comes from three fronts: a loss on the Brisbane Airport Link; a much reduced profit on the Victorian desalination project and a write down of its 45 per cent stake in Habtoor Leighton Group in the Middle East.