Leighton price attracts Hochtief

Hochtief CEO says his firm 'took advantage' of low prices to raise stake.

Hochtief chief executive Marcelino Fernandez Verdes has said his company was seeking to “take advantage” of Leighton Holdings's (LEI) weak share price earlier in 2013 when it raised its stake in the company, according to The Australian Financial Review.

On June 21, Leighton's share price fell to a 52-week low of $14.40, around the same time its parent, Hochtief, began raising its stake in Leighton.

Hochtief had for years maintained a Leighton stake of about 53.5 per cent. But it now holds about a 56.52 per cent stake. Its efforts to creep up its register are limited by restrictions that prevent it from acquiring more than three per cent every six months.

“We took advantage of a very favourable moment in the development of Leighton's share price to increase our interest in the company,” Mr Fernandez Verdes told a German magazine, according to the AFR.

“An investment in Leighton is an investment in our core business, and our core business is exactly what we want to expand and make more profitable.”