Lend Lease will jettison 1700 jobs - about 10 per cent of its workforce - after making a loss of A$596.4m (£271m) in the six months to 31 December.

Most of the staff at the contractor and developer are ‘project- based’. They will be let go over the next six months as their contracts on developments come to an end.

Lend Lease's new chief executive, Steve McCann said: ‘There is no doubt that 2009 is challenging as the effects of the global financial crisis continue to be felt.

We expect the current market volatility to remain for the foreseeable future with the timing of recovery dependent on the recovery of liquidity in the financial markets.

Our strategy is to preserve our strong cash position, resize overhead in light of market conditions and to consolidate our pipeline of projects to ensure we will be in a leading position when financial markets recover.’

The half-year result contained A$400m (£182m) of asset writedowns and losses on goodwill and other investments. They were foreshadowed by Lend Lease three weeks ago when it raised A$302.5m (£137m) of new equity.

Investors received an interim dividend of 25 cents, compared with the previous year's 43 cents.