Australian construction and mining company Leighton Holdings has won USD 550M worth of infrastructure work in India. Analysts predict the group will report earnings of more than USD 613M for the 2010 financial year.

Leighton is currently finalising an agreement to offload a 26 per cent stake in its Indian construction business to the Jindal Group.

Leighton India will expand the Vizag Port on India’s east coast as part of a joint venture with Indian miner Sterlite. Leighton’s share in the project is worth USD 45M. Leighton will also build the Chennai-Nashri tunnel; a two-lane, 9km road tunnel in Jannu, northern India, in a government-backed project worth USD 500M. It is expected to take 54 months to complete.

The tunnel is one of several government road upgrade projects in parts of the country where weather conditions can close transport links for up to 40 days.

On the Vizag Port job, Leighton will add 21m to the 350m general cargo berth. Work is scheduled for completion by 2012. The company will also provide foundations for 2.5km of conveyor gallery and build a new stockyard and administration building. Both projects will start immediately.

According to David Savage, chief operating operator for Leighton International, including the latest contract wins, Leighton India can expect to generate USD 2bn of revenue within five years.

Turnover this year should be between USD 800M and USD 1bn.

The strategic partnership deal with Jindal will be followed by an agreement to sell a half share of two Indian toll roads with a book value of USD 45M.