A net profit of €388 million has been reported for the first half of 2016 by Spanish-based construction and services group ACS, which said that sales reached €16.39 billion.

It said this was 5.3% lower on a like-for-like basis, adjusted for currency impacts and the sale of renewable assets, compared to 2015.

The first half sales of €16.39 billion represented a decrease of 8.2%, which it said was a result of the negative impact of exchange rate variations against the Euro, in particular the Australian Dollar (-6%) and the Mexican Peso (-18%), as well as the sale of renewable assets in the first quarter of 2015.

ACS said that the geographical distribution of sales showed the broad diversification of the group. North America accounted for 44% of sales, Europe 25%, Australia 13%, Asia 10%, South America 7% and Africa the remaining 1%. It added that international sales accounted for 83% of the total.

The group’s total EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) came to €1.23 billion, a decrease of 6.9%.

It reported that operational improvements and reduction in financial expenses contributed to an increase of 8.6% in attributable net profit, before corporate costs. It added that construction activity grew by 26.1% as a result of transformation processes implemented in its Hochtief contractor and its subsidiaries.

Operational net profit at Hochtief increased by 25% year-on-year in the first half of 2016.

Sales in construction accounted for €11.34 billion, a decrease of 11.1% as a result of the ending of major liquefied natural gas projects in Australia, as well as the impact of the foreign exchange market. However, ACS noted that in the second quarter, production in Australia was showing signs of recovery and grew by 6% over the previous quarter. It said this marked the beginning of a recovery that would be seen in the quarters to come.

International sales in construction amounted to €10.78 billion, which represented 95% of total sales in this area, with North America and Australia the most important markets.

Construction EBITDA accounted for €712 million. Net profit reached over €157 million, which ACS said showed solid growth as a result of the profitability increase at Hochtief and its subsidiaries.

Construction backlog, at the end of first half of 2016, was said to be €51.25 billion, 4.6% more than 12 months ago.

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