Leighton increases FY profit

Group eyes improved profitability through margin expansion in year ahead.

Leighton Holdings (LEI) says it will pursue margin expansion initiatives in the year ahead, but expects flat top-line growth, as it pushes to improve on a tidy lift in net profit for 2013.

In the full year to December 31, Leighton posted a net profit of $508.7 million, a 13% increase on the $450.1 million recorded in the previous year.

In the same period Leighton's total revenue was $22.564 billion, an 8% increase on the $20.830 billion posted in 2012.

The group will pay a half-franked final dividend of 60 cents on April 4 to shareholders on the register at March 21.

The final dividend will bring Leighton's total dividend to $1.05, which is 50% franked.

Leighton said it will pursue improved profitability driven by margin expansion initiatives, as top line growth is not anticipated amid the current tough market.

The group expects fiscal 2014 underlying net profit in the range of $540 million to $620 million, with gearing seen between the new range of 20% to 35%.