UPDATE 3-SNC eyes shedding assets, focus on Americas in new strategy

Thu May 2, 2013 4:04pm EDT
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By Solarina Ho

TORONTO May 2 (Reuters) - Scandal-mired SNC Lavalin Group Inc reported a disappointing profit on Thursday as it laid out a growth strategy calling for it to liquidate some infrastructure investments and focus on the lower-risk markets of North and South America.

SNC, one of the world's largest construction and engineering companies, said that under the new strategy, the Montreal-based firm would leverage its expertise in resources, exit investments at maturity, potentially sell non-core assets and reduce its equity stakes in large investments in the medium term.

"While we will maintain a commitment toward a truly global company and global growth, Canada and Latin America will be our initial emphasis to take advantage of our strong position combined with the relative positive opportunity set in these locations," said Chief Executive Robert Card said during a conference call with analysts.

"We're not ruling out any geography, including Africa, North, South, East, West Africa," he added.

Some of the company's investments include overseas airports, rail, power, healthcare centers and highways.

"We believe the market will deem the strategic review and especially the eventual exit from mature concessions as a positive," Maxim Sytchev, an analyst with Dundee Securities, said in a research note.

"The same goes to de-risking the company's profile by re-focusing on North and South America."   Continued...