February 20, 2018 / 10:02 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Australia's LendLease half-year profit jumps, beats estimates

(Adds further earnings details, buy-back announcement)

Feb 21 (Reuters) - Australian developer LendLease Group on Wednesday reported an 8 percent rise in half-year profit, underpinned by strong performance in its development and investment segments.

The company said net profit rose to A$425.6 million ($335.37 million) compared with A$394.8 million a year ago. That beat an expectation of A$343.3 million according to three analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company declared an interim dividend of A$0.34 per share, up slightly from A$0.33 last year.

A marginal fall in the construction segment’s underlying earnings was far outweighed by a 55 percent and 48 percent rise in underlying earnings of the development and investment segments, respectively, helping the bottom line.

The company had flagged falling earnings in its construction business in October, two months after proclaiming the outlook as “strong”, but had said that would be offset by earnings rising in other segments.

Half-year revenue for the company, which has projects in Europe, the United States and Malaysia as well as Australia, came in at A$8.69 billion, up from A$7.95 billion a year ago.

The company also announced a buy-back of A$500 million of its shares.

Australian builders have been basking in a five-year construction boom, buoyed by unexpectedly resilient homebuilding as well as state-led infrastructure spending. ($1 = 1.2690 Australian dollars) (Reporting by Susan Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Tom Westbrook/Gareth Jones)

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