Here’s why Cimic Group Ltd shares are soaring

Credit: World Bank Photo Collection

Shares of Cimic Group Ltd (ASX: CIM) (formally Leighton Holdings) today leaped 6% higher following the release of its 2015 annual report.

For the year ended 31 December 2015, Cimic Group reported a profit (from continuing operations only) of $514.4 million, up from a loss of $112.8 million in the prior corresponding period. The previous result, however, included an impairment charge of $680.3 million.

Revenue for the period fell from $16.87 billion to $13.37 billion, primarily a result of lower construction contracting services.

Cimic Executive Chairman, Marcelino Fernández Verdes, said, “CIMIC Group performed strongly during 2015, either meeting or exceeding key financial targets.”

“2015 NPAT is at the top end of our profit guidance range and we have improved margins by reducing overheads and effectively managing financial and other costs,” Mr Fernández Verdes added. “With our enhanced tendering approach, we have won new work of more than $14 billion. Our activity-focused operating model and increased attention to cash and cost control, delivered a solid result and has put us in a strong net cash position.”

At 31 December 2015, Cimic reported cash of $2.17 billion and $1.06 billion in interest bearing debt.

Pleasingly, the company’s board resolved to declare a final dividend of 50 cents per share, fully franked. The dividend represents 62% of net profit and will be paid on 8 April 2016.

Looking ahead, Cimic said there is $60 billion of relevant mining and infrastructure projects expected to be awarded in 2016, 60% of which is located in Australia and New Zealand.

The company said it had a “firm order book” with work in hand equivalent to $29 billion.

“We remain focused on further developing our core contracting business, and extending into new markets and exploring new valuecreating opportunities within our existing and complementary areas of expertise,” Mr Fernández Verdes concluded.

Foolish takeaway

Around 91% of shares in Cimic Group are controlled by the company’s top 20 shareholders, including HOCHTIEF Australia, which is a subsidiary of a German-based company owned by a Spanish company, holding nearly 70% of issued capital. In my opinion, investors should consider this before taking a stake in Cimic.

Our BEST tech stock idea for 2016

Our expert analysts recently hand-picked their top technology stock idea for 2016. And it's easy to see why: It has a big dividend yield, is growing rapidly and has heaps of cash on its balance sheet. Best of all: their top stock pick of 2016 is yours free! Just click here, enter your email address, and we'll send you their research report. No credit card details or payment required.

Motley Fool writer/analyst Owen Raszkiewicz does not have a financial interest in any company mentioned. Owen welcomes -- and encourages -- your feedback on Google+, LinkedIn or you can follow him on Twitter @ASXinvest.

Unless otherwise noted, the author does not have a position in any stocks mentioned by the author in the comments below. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

Two New Stock Picks Every Month!

Not to alarm you, but you’re about to miss a very important event! Chief Investment Advisor Scott Phillips and his team at Motley Fool Share Advisor are about to reveal their latest official stock recommendation. The premium “buy alert” will be unveiled to members and you can be among the first to act on the tip.

Don’t let this opportunity pass you by – this is your chance to get in early!

Simply enter your email now to find out how you can get instant access.

By clicking this button, you agree to our Terms of Service and Privacy Policy. We will use your email address only to keep you informed about updates to our website and about other products and services we think might interest you. You can unsubscribe from Take Stock at anytime. Please refer to our Financial Services Guide (FSG) for more information.