THE chief executive, Wal King, and his fellow Leighton Holdings directors are headed for a dramatic showdown with directors of the group’s German parent, Hochtief, at a board meeting in Hong Kong on Sunday.
As revealed by BusinessDay last month, the Hochtief representatives were furious that Mr King and the board knocked back a takeover bid for Leighton this year.
The revelations further soured relations between the two camps and Hochtief directors failed to meet Mr King and the rest of the board in Mongolia.
The board travelled to the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator this week and is believed to be in the Gobi Desert visiting Leighton operations.
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The Leighton board will travel to Hong Kong for a strategy meeting on Friday before the Sunday board meeting at the Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Tensions between Leighton and its German parent, which owns 55 per cent of the stock, had simmered for years before boiling over in recent weeks.
Hochtief used to be 10 times the size of its Australian target company when it first invested in 1981.
Under the stewardship of King, however, Leighton has risen to become this country’s pre-eminent construction and engineering group while Hochtief has stagnated.
Sources close to the drama said last night that Mr King had the support of all the non-Hochtief directors – and therefore a solid majority on the Leighton board – with the possible exception of former Qantas chief financial officer Peter Gregg.