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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Deripaska Is Buying Into Hochtief

FRANKFURT - Billionaire Oleg Deripaska has taken a 3 percent stake in Hochtief, Germany's largest construction company, and his investment vehicle said he planned to increase the stake further.

"We plan to increase our shareholding in Hochtief," Deripaska's Basic Element, which holds the Hochtief stake, said in an e-mailed response to a question Friday.

Hochtief shares closed up 3.3 percent at 80.69 euros, beating the 1 percent increase of the MDAX index of mid-sized German companies on Friday.

The investment is "strategic" to help Basic Element develop its capabilities in the construction business, the statement said. The two companies are discussing joint projects, Hochtief said.

The move by Russia's second-richest man comes after Deripaska agreed to take a 30 percent stake in Austrian builder Strabag one week earlier.

Speculation of takeovers in the German construction industry was fueled after Spanish builder ACS took a 25 percent stake in Hochtief in March. Some investors believe this puts pressure on other builders to expand.

Deripaska had also been interested in taking the 25 percent stake in the German builder, which Spanish construction company ACS bought in March, industry sources said.

Deripaska's Basic Element controls the world's largest aluminum producer, United Company RusAl, carmaker GAZ as well as construction, building materials and real estate firms.

Separately, Hochtief on Friday stuck to its profit forecast for this year as its airports and mining business will make up for weaker-than-expected earnings in its home market.

Hochtief - which built the Taipei 101 skyscraper, the world's highest - still expects an unspecified rise in pretax earnings and a more than 12 percent increase in net income to over 100 million euros ($136.1 million) this year.

"Higher passenger numbers and demand for raw materials will help overcome the weak German construction sector," a spokeswoman said.