Engineering firm Leighton has posted an underlying profit of $448 million, shrugging off a tough 2012 to focus on a ‘stabilise, rebase and regrow’ strategy.

“2012 has been an important year for the Company, as the Board and management have worked together to restore shareholder value. The result was at the top end of our market guidance and the balance sheet was substantially deleveraged in the second half of the year. The Board has also approved a lower target gearing range of 25 to 35 per cent.” Leighton’s Chairman Stephen Johns said.

Leighton’s CEO, Hamish Tyrwhitt, said that the results indicated a strong and diversified business.

“Looking at 2013, we will continue to reshape our operations, leading to net margin expansion and lower gearing, while managing our exposure to the Habtoor Leighton Group (HLG) and continuing to work proactively to create value for all our shareholders,” Mr Tyrwhitt concluded.

In the financial year ended 31 December 2012, the Group achieved total revenue of $23 billion from over 400 active projects. UNPAT of $448 million was underpinned by strong performances across the Group’s diversified portfolio.