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Johannesburg - Aveng, South Africa’s second- biggest construction and engineering company by market value, said first-half earnings fell as much as 25 percent as its mining order book shrunk and borrowings rose.

Earnings per share for the six months through December were 78.8 cents to 84 cents, the company said in a statement today.

That compares with 105 cents in the same period in 2012.

Aveng’s mining unit made a lower contribution to total profit and the company borrowed more to fund work on a liquefied natural gas project in Australia, it said.

“This is reflective of the embedded order book being bad, aggressive pricing on work it’s currently completing and tough operating conditions,” Dirk Noeth, an analyst from Avior Research, said by phone from Cape Town.

Aveng fell as much as 3.9 percent to 22.45 rand, an eight- year low, and traded 2 percent lower at 22.89 rand as of 11:45 a.m in Johannesburg.

More than 2 million shares traded, or double the three-month daily average.

Aveng will release first- half earnings on February 25. - Bloomberg News