John Holland to be acquired by CCCI

Leighton Holdings Limited (LEI.AX) today announced it had entered a binding Share Sale Agreement with CCCC International Holding Limited (CCCI) under which CCCI would acquire the business and assets of John Holland Group (JHG) from LEI.

CCCI is a wholly owned subsidiary of China Communications Construction Company Limited (CCCC), a public company listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (1800.HK) and on the Shanghai Stock Exchange (601800.SH) with a market capitalisation of approximately A$23.5 billion. The transaction is subject to the usual prescribed occurrences and regulatory approvals. [Completion is expected in the first quarter of 2015.]

John Holland, Group Managing Director Glenn Palin said: “We are excited about the opportunity that joining with CCCI presents for our business. “From our point of view, John Holland and CCCI are extremely complementary, through a shared dedication to technical excellence and innovation, and a pride in company history and values. With the strength and capability of CCCI backing us, John Holland is set for a bright future in the Australian infrastructure market.

“This is the next step in our journey as one of Australia’s leading engineering contractors. Not only is our proud heritage assured but it will enable us to effectively deliver innovative projects for our customers.” President of CCCI, Mr Lu Jianzhong said: “This is a momentous step for our company. We believe there are very significant growth opportunities in the Australian market, and clearly in the proposed acquisition of John Holland, we are recognising the strong leadership and solid performance of the business. “From our perspective, ownership of John Holland is the optimal way for CCCC to participate in this dynamic market as part of our aim to be a global transportation infrastructure business. It will be an important strategic addition to CCCC and we see JHG as a strong independent competitor in the Australian market.”

“We have a very high regard for the existing senior management team and its technical staff and value their relationships with John Holland’s customers. "For customers, employees and suppliers it will be very much business as usual but with the added benefit of the resources of CCCC to support them,” Mr Lu said.

Mr Lu said that before embarking on this journey, it was critical there be a cultural affinity between the two businesses. “We have been very pleased to find we share many of the same ideals including a strong focus on tradition and the pursuit of excellence in all our endeavours. The John Holland name has a long and proud association with the sector, and we intend to honour and perpetuate that. “Without doubt, John Holland is one of Australia’s leading construction business with a quality portfolio of clients, and we believe there are significant opportunities for expertise and capability sharing between the businesses. We are also excited by the strong pipeline of transport infrastructure projects planned in Australia, and we intend to support John Holland, financially and technically, to deliver world-class transport infrastructure projects for its clients.”

Mr Lu said that CCCC planned to share its specialist skills with John Holland and in turn expects there will be opportunities to export John Holland’s particular skills, especially in road, rail, tunnelling and water infrastructure. John Holland has had a long and successful history operating in South East Asia and Hong Kong, and John Holland management intends to continue to pursue growth opportunities in these markets, benefiting from the local relationships of CCCC. “Over time we will explore with John Holland management how our joint expertise can be shared to our mutual benefit,” said Mr Lu.