Leighton restructure tipped: report

Engineering firm to face ‘brutal’ shake-up in wake of appointment of new CEO.

Leighton Holdings’ (LEI) new chief executive returns to Australia this week and will soon put his stamp on the business, according to The Australian Financial Review.

Marcelino Fernandez Verdes -- who also runs Germany’s Hochtief, which lobbed in a $1.2 billion takeover bid for Leighton earlier this month -- is expected to meet with the leaders of Leighton’s operating companies ahead of what a former Leighton executive believes will be a “brutal” restructure.

“Leighton will be more profitable on a margin basis but it will be a smaller company and Fernandez Verdes will also sell things off to allow cash to be distributed back up to Hochtief and ACS to help them with their ­balance sheets,” the executive told the AFR.

Hochtief, which in turn is controlled by Spain’s ACS, launched a full takeover bid for Leighton on March 10.

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