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Leighton returns to profit

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Leighton Holdings has returned to profit and driven down debt after least year's heavy losses, and forecast further growth in the year ahead.

The construction giant posted a net profit of $450.1 million in the 12 months to December 31, after recording a $285.5 million loss for calendar 2011.

It was able to swing back to the profit after completing the Brisbane AirportLink and Victorian desalination plant projects, which suffered massive cost blowouts.

Leighton's underlying net profit, which excludes one-off financial items, was $448 million, up from a loss of $229 million in 2011.

The company has forecast an underlying net profit of $520 million to $600 million for calendar year 2013.