French contractor Bouygues has reported a fall in sales of 9% for the first quarter of 2020, and withdrawn the proposed dividend for shareholders.
The company said its good performance in the first two months of the year – allied with positive results from Bougyes Telecoms – was not enough to offset the significant business drop-off in March, due to the lockdown imposed by the French government.
Of an estimated €750 million fall in sales in the first quarter of 2020, Bouygues calculates that approximately €600 million was due to business lost within France.
The company’s operating profit for the quarter fell to to -€242 million, from -€58million in the first quarter of 2019, while net profit fell to -€204 million, from -€59 million in the first quarter of 2019.
While withdawring the shareholder dividend, Bouygues insisted that its financial situation remained ‘very robust’, with available cash standing at approximately €10.3 billion at the end of March.
The group’s chairman and CEO, Martin Bouygues, said the company’s construction business backlog also remained at a high level and said the board’s decision to withdraw the dividend reflected the group’s intention to “act responsibly” in the crisis.
“I share in the grief and suffering of all those affected by this disease,” he said, adding that he and his brother Olivier would relinquish 25% of their fixed and variable remuneration for 2020.