Australian Leighton Holding sells John Holland Group to Chinese construction firm
Australia has approved the sale of Leighton Holding's John Holland Group, one the country's biggest construction firms, to China Communications Construction Company (CCCC).
The A$1.15bn ($879m; £593m) deal was announced last year but was subject to regulatory approval. State-owned CCCC is the world's fourth-largest building company. Australia said it welcomed foreign investment "where it was not contrary to [the] national interest".
"Foreign investment has helped build Australia's economy and will continue to enhance the wellbeing of Australians by supporting economic growth and prosperity," Treasurer Joe Hockey said.
John Holland has a more than 60-year history of operations in Australia and employs more than 5,600 people across eight countries.
Its recent projects include railway-related developments in the states of New South Wales and Victoria, a prison in Melbourne and a billion-dollar children's hospital in Perth, among others.
China's CCCC, together with its wholly-owned China Communications Construction Company International (CCCI), the arm that will take over John Holland, has a presence in more than 80 countries.
In 2009, the World Bank announced it had debarred CCCC for fraudulent practices around a road project in the Philippines. It said the firm was ineligible to work on any road projects funded by the bank until 2017.
Noting this issue, Mr Hockey said "appropriate arrangements had been put in place to mitigate any concerns".
Evan Lucas, a market strategist with IG in Melbourne, said John Holland had been under financial pressure for several years and had been a source of angst for Leighton, which bought it in 2000.
Wednesday's decision was the right step for promoting foreign direct investment in Australia and proved that suitable places could still be found for foreign funds, he said.
"Supply of work has been below trend and the amount of operators has ramped up over this period, increasing the pressure."
Mr Lucas said the deal would deleverage Leighton, add new funding to John Holland, and keep competition for infrastructure projects in Australia robust.
uPVC pipes, safety glasses and Spetz app launched
This week has seen a range of new product and service launches for the construction trade.
Vinyl Pipes has launched uPVC Column Pipes, which extend the life of pipes. Column Pipes with a power lock (patent pending) will not only to raise the safety standards but improve the efficiency of Borewell installations. This Lock system, a by-product of the in-house R&D team, is designed to bear load making the pipes stress-free, torque resistant and perfect for handling high pressure water.
Conscious that using the correct glasses could prevent 90% of jobsite injuries, Milwaukee's expanded range (pictured) features anti-scratch and fog free styles, new lens colours and magnification features, complementing its 'cut resistant' gloves.
Arriving on the UK app scene, Spetz is billed as a ‘one-stop shop’ for anyone "panicked by household flooding or electricity failure," as it unites tradespeople with consumers.
Spetz founder and CEO Yossi Nevo said urgent needs come in all forms and it’s unlikely that any household has tried and trusted tradespeople to match every possibility.
"The Spetz app rapidly connects them with a suitable ‘rescue service’ in as little as 30 seconds and that rapid reassurance is completely free - it’s the tradespeople who pay for these job leads. Those start at around £6 a time, but the tradesperson can then go on to make thousands from our automated system funnelling the best and most appropriate work their way.”
Spetz is now three years old operating in Israel, Australia and is now beginning a full UK rollout, after a ‘soft’ launch.