Hochtief reserves the right to put the planned initial public offering (IPO) of its infrastructure unit on hold should stock markets take a drubbing from the Dubai debt crisis, its chief executive told a Sunday paper.
We will not sell at any price and we don't have to, Herbert Luetkestratkoetter, CEO of the German construction group, said when asked by Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung if the IPO would be postponed if markets plummet further.
Luetkestratkoetter added that he was so far very satisfied with the interest in the shares of Hochtief's Concessions unit, which operates airports, roads and tunnels.
Hochtief aims to raise as much as 1 billion euros ($1.49 billion) by floating a minority stake in the unit in what would be Germany's biggest IPO in two years. New and existing shares are being offered for 24-29 euros apiece from November 20 to December 3.
Hochtief slid 6 percent over the previous two trading sessions, tracking a drop in global builders' stocks, as investors fretted that exposure to Dubai could further squeeze profits already hit by the global economic downturn.
The CEO said Hochtief's exposure to Dubai was limited to 10 million euros owed to its Australian subsidiary Leighton, specifying a statement on Friday that the Emirate's financial problems had no significant impact on its business.
The Concessions unit's earnings before special items in 2009 would more or less match last year's level, the CEO also said in the interview.
The business plans to pay out 50-70 percent of its earnings through dividends, he added.
(Reporting by Ludwig Burger; Editing by Mike Nesbit)