Home' Future Building Australian Infrastructure Review : July 2011 Contents futurebuilding
Volume 2 Number 1
The playing field has levelled: Brecht
‘Having the Lend Lease brand and its balance
sheet behind us is going to be the big benefit,’ Brecht
says. ‘That’s going to make it a much more level
playing field than it was previously.’
More than a year after his former German parent,
Bilfinger Berger AG, sent Brecht around the world to
drum up support for a potential IPO of its Australian
businesses, Brecht is now folding Baulderstone,
Abigroup and Conneq into Lend Lease.
In play are billions in hospital, transport and other
infrastructure projects – as well as billions more in
resources related infrastructure. Brecht says his focus
is on realising the efficiencies that melding the two
companies should create, without losing the human
capital and corporate identities that made Bilfinger
Berger Australia an attractive acquisition for Lend
Lease in the first place.
‘It’s been 15 months of pretty hard yakka that has
taken me outside of the business,’ Brecht says.
‘We need to deliver over the next 12 months.
When someone is paying a billion dollars for your
business, they want you to hit a few targets too.’
When takeovers don’t succeed, it is usually
because of a failure to respect and accommodate the
corporate culture and senior leadership of the acquired
company. In this case, Lend Lease has retained most
of the senior executives across the former Bilfinger
Berger group – starting with Brecht. That’s because
Lend Lease is counting on their expertise, contacts
and knowledge of the infrastructure marketplace to
secure even greater success.
UBS analyst John Freedman, who maintains
a ‘buy’ recommendation on Lend Lease, says the
combined companies ought to be worth about $9.75
a share. This compares favourably with less than $7
at one point back in November. Full year net income
may rise by more than half to just under half a billion
dollars by June 2013.
The takeover will boost Lend Lease’s construction
earnings to 43 per cent of sales from 25 per cent,
‘It takes Lend Lease into the strongly growing
engineering construction space, an area we have
believed Lend Lease should have entered a long time
ago,’ he says.
The integration period is scheduled to run until
mid-year as Brecht and Lend Lease Group Director of
Operations, Scott Charlton, sort out how to meld back
office operations as well as some of the other savings,
which analysts say the merger will bring.
‘Peter has been a very successful leader of [the
company] and the construction industry in general,’
‘He has developed and retained a successful team
and we believe he has a lot to add to the Lend Lease
Group as Managing Director, Infrastructure.’
Brecht says that retaining him to run the
infrastructure business sends a strong signal to
management, engineers and project leaders – and
clients – that Lend Lease want them to perform and
carry on as before.
‘There’s not going to be a big change of priorities,’
Brecht says. ‘Lend Lease will be looking for us to grow
Teaming up with Lend Lease may make it easier
to attract new talent, too, with the company’s hefty
balance sheet paving the way to compete more ably
for project wins.
Brecht says that retaining
him to run the infrastructure
business sends a strong signal
to management, engineers and
project leaders – and clients – that
Lend Lease want them to perform
and carry on as before.
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