French business suffers at Bouygues

By Sandy Guthrie13 November 2015

Sales and orders in France have been lagging behind international business at French-based construction group Bouygues, where group operating profit was up 132% in the first nine months of the year, as the group confirmed its outlook for 2015.

The order book for the construction businesses at the end of September 2015 reached €29, up 6% year-on-year, or 1% at constant exchange rates. Bouygues said this reflected strong momentum in international activity, in line with previous quarters.

The international order book at the end of September 2015 was €16.1 billion, up 23% year-on-year and 30% over the last two years. The company said that 60% of Bouygues Construction’s and subsidiary Colas’ order book at the end of September 2015 was in international markets, compared with 51% a year earlier.

In contrast, the order book for construction in France at the end of September 2015 was down 10% year-on-year, to €13 billion. It said this reflected an environment that remained tough in building, civil works and roads alike.

Sales in the construction businesses in the first nine months of 2015 were €19.1 billion, 1% less than in the first nine months of 2014, and down 7% like-for-like and at constant exchange rates.

It said the current operating margin was stable at 2.7% over the period, reflecting in particular the improvement in profitability at Colas, driven by its international activities, said Bouygues.

It said that group sales in the first nine months of 2015 were €23.8 billion, 2% lower than in the first nine months of 2014. This was down 6% in France and up 7% in international markets, benefiting from a favourable exchange rate effect, said Bouygues.

Group net profit for the first nine months of 2015 was €334 million and included the impact of the sale of Bouygues Construction’s stake in Alis, the A28 motorway concession company in France.

Net profit in the first nine months of 2014 included the net capital gain on the sale of Colas’ interest in motorway infrastructure management company Cofiroute to Vinci. Excluding exceptional items, net profit attributable to the Group would be up slightly to €320 million despite a €119 million decline in the net contribution from rail transport specialist Alstom.

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