Leighton completes sale of India unit to Welspun

Indian conglomerate Welspun paid about $104m for the 35% stake in the Australian developer’s Indian infrastructure businesses.

Sydney-listed developer Leighton Holdings has completed the sale of 35 percent of its India division to the infrastructure arm of Indian conglomerate Welspun Group.

Welspun had agreed to pay RS470 crore (€70.3 million; $104 million) for the Leighton stake. Welspun said its subsidiaries Welspun Infratech and Welspun Infra Developers would commit RS 250 crore and the remaining RS 220 crore would be funded by debt. The sale was agreed upon late last year.

Leighton Chief Executive David Stewart described the sale as a “strategic move” which would give Leighton a stronger local presence in India and greater access to a “major growth market”.

Stewart also said the two firms would bid on some of the $1 trillion worth of infrastructure projects slated in the Indian government's next five-year plan. Leighton would focus on India's power and transport sectors, where it is already working on a $585 million road tunnel in northern India and three oil and gas projects valued at $840 million, according to a statement.

Leighton is 54 percent owned by German infrastructure group Hochtief, which is in the process of being taken over by Spanish developer ACS. Hochtief had attempted to block the merger by asking Australian regulators to force ACS to factor Leighton's market capitalisation into its takeover offer, but regulators declined the request.