Watpac dusts off investor stoush, wins major contracts

Watpac dusts off investor stoush, wins major contracts

Listed civil contractor and developer Watpac (ASX:WTP) has shaken off the negativity of a high profile stoush among its shareholders by announcing two major contracts over the past four days.

Waptac today revealed it has won a $110 million contract to design and build the new Deakin Law School building at the Burwood Campus in Melbourne.

This comes on the heels of the company last week securing the construction management contract for the Adelaide Airport terminal expansion, which will comprise a significant portion of Adelaide Airport Limited's $165 million upgrade.

The Deakin Law School project will comprise nine levels and deliver 20,000 square metres of teaching and learning spaces, student support and wellbeing spaces, staff workspaces and basement car parking.

Watpac plans to start site works on the Deakin Law School project later this month.

"We anticipate peak workforce numbers to reach 230 people and estimate the project will be completed by mid-2020," says Watpac Construction Victoria state manager Nick Pavlovic.

Meanwhile, the Adelaide Airport expansion, designed to support passenger growth to 2029, will include major expansion and refurbishment works of the existing terminal.

Watpac is expected to employ up to 200 construction workers on the Adelaide project and site work is expected to start next month.

Watpac previously delivered the $76 million Adelaide Airport Landside infrastructure project in 2013.

The current project, which will expand the international inbound passenger processing and baggage claim facility and create a new retail concourse with passenger facilities and amenities, is expected to be completed in 2021.

The two contracts are welcome news for Watpac which earlier this month saw 3 per cent shareholder Sandon Capital voting against a scheme of arrangement between Watpac and major stakeholder BESIX.

The Belgian giant has a $168.7 million takeover offer on the table for Watpac at 92c per share, a steep premium to the group's current price of 76c.

However, BESIX failed to gain the numbers earlier this month to approve a scheme of arrangement that would have lifted its stake in Watpac from 28 per cent to 64 per cent.

The Belgian group, a long-time shareholder, has threatened to walk from its Watpac shareholding altogether if the takeover bid fails to proceed.

In March, Watpac forecast it would suffer a full-year loss and that it was contemplating selling its mining services business after it missed out on two major contracts.

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