The Advertiser

Break-up fears as contractor struggles


MACMAHON Holdings’ latest impairment of up to $125 million on top of a $130 million first-half charge has sparked speculatio­n the contractor could be broken up.

Like the mining services sector generally, Macmahon has been sacking staff and losing contracts and revenue from its struggling resources customers as commoditie­s prices have dived.

Most notable has been the loss of a $260 million contract with iron ore miner Fortescue Metals and a payment dispute with a Mongolian government­owned coal miner.

Macmahon said it expects to slash the carrying value of its equipment and inventory by between $95 million and $125 million, affecting its full-year pre-tax earnings.

“The decision to make this impairment follows the cumulative effect of continued challengin­g market conditions for the mining services sector, and low demand and market prices for used mining equipment and inventory,” the company said.

That follows the company’s $112 million net loss in the first half of this financial year, which included a $130 million impairment charge.

Macmahon’s Australian projects include Newcrest’s Mining’s Cadia gold project, BHP Billiton’s Olympic Dam, Xstrata Zinc in Queensland and others. The company’s balance sheet is relatively healthy, with cash of $124 million and gross debt of $161 million reported in February.

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