Leighton’s major shareholder raises stake

Leighton Holdings (ASX: LEI), whose global interests span civil engineering, contract mining, telecommunications services and project management, has seen increased support from its major shareholder, German-based Hochtief AG (ETR: HOT).

Hochtief’s latest purchase of 4.8 million shares takes its holding in Leighton to 54.96%. Importantly for minority shareholders who might be holding out hope for a takeover offer, Hochtief advised of “its intention to exercise its right to creep subject to prevailing market conditions and provisions of the Corporations Act.”

This statement  likely suggests that Hochtief is in no hurry to gain full control over Leighton, so shareholders shouldn’t hold their breath hoping to be taken out at a premium. With Leighton’s shares currently trading near their 52-week lows, it has been an opportune time for the German firm to creep up the register a little further.

Foolish takeaway

It’s been a tough 12 months for firms exposed to the resource sector; however, beaten-down stocks are yet to receive much in the way of corporate activity or ‘white knights’. Two companies that have bucked this trend include UGL (ASX: UGL), which has announced it will consider spinning off its property services division in an attempt to realise shareholder value, while the $50 million Engenco (ASX: EGN) received a takeover offer from its major shareholder.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this article.

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