Lend Lease Positive About Local Residential Construction


Diversified development giant

Lend Lease is lukewarm about Australia's economy even though it is upbeat about local residential construction.

Chief executive Steve McCann says the company's strategy of reducing its overall reliance on domestic projects made sense as gross domestic product expanded by a slower than usual pace.

"Our view is the macro environment is slowing in Australia relative to some of the offshore markets," he told AAP on Friday.

"Every economic indicator will suggest that our GDP growth over the next several years is likely to be a little bit sub-trend."But Mr McCann told shareholders in Sydney Lend Lease's outlook was "very positive", singling out apartment building in Australia and the UK.

"Macro trends continue to support our residential businesses in Australia and the UK," he said.

According to

SBS three-quarters of Lend Lease's underlying earnings come from Australia, compared with 40 per cent in 2005, but it is seeking to grow its offshore earnings by 30 to 35 per cent in coming years.

Mr McCann said $2.5 billion in pre-sold revenue from apartment buildings would become cash and underpin profits over the next three years.

"Our construction business is well placed to participate in the estimated $50 billion of foreshadowed Australian infrastructure spend," he said.

Lend Lease forecasts a development pipeline of $38 billion, more than $16 billion in backlog construction and more than $16 billion in funds under management. It made a net profit of $822.9 million during the last financial year, up 50 per cent from $549 million in 2012/13.

This was underpinned by a $485 million profit from the sale of its 30 per cent interest in the UK Bluewater shopping centre.

Lend Lease heads the consortium building Melbourne's politically contentious East West Link motorway.

It has also been awarded the tender to build Sydney's NorthConnex motorway tunnel, and is the builder of casino group Crown Resort's Barangaroo towers.

Source: AAP

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