Declines over-exaggerated, King

The head of construction company Leighton Holdings has said that any speculation about declines in the mining industry are "over-exaggerated".

The head of construction company Leighton Holdings has said that any speculation about declines in the mining industry are “over-exaggerated”.

Speaking on ABC1’s Inside Business program on Sunday morning, Wal King said the sector in Australia is “alive and well”.

“I think the comments about declining in mining are over-exaggerated,” King said.

“One blowfly doesn’t make a summer and one mine closure in central Queensland or cutbacks doesn’t signal the end of the mining industry.

“In our overall mining business we see big expansions and today we were awarded $2.5 to $3 billion worth of projects in Mongolia and Indonesia in the mining business.”

King said he does not foresee struggle in the company’s future, despite projects coming in irregularly.

“We’re not selling ice-creams… [we are] very advanced on probably another $4 or $5 billion worth of projects,” he said.

“But the way they come through the door and the way we burn it off, the work in hand might peak, it might go from $39 or $40 billion back to $36 billion but that’s not the end of the world.

“If you look at the entire history of Leighton, when I started with Leighton’s … we were doing $17 million a year.

“This year, we will do 19 billion … and we believe we will grow into the mid-20 billions, so the company will continue to grow.”

He said despite much of the world economy being in recession, he is not anticipating a drop in forward orders.

“[It] is a big anomaly that we see a big momentum in our business and either, our business is built from the bottom up on opportunities, assessments and so on and so forth, and all of that comes together with showing more opportunities not less opportunities,” he said.

“Now either that is wildly wrong and it’s looked at every three months.

“This is not a process where we stick our head out the window, see whether it’s raining and go to sleep for 12 months.”

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