Sales of €10.1 billion in the nine months to 30 September, 2015, have been reported by French contractor Eiffage, a fall of 0.3% on the same period a year earlier.

There was a slight decrease in activity in contracting – down 1.2% – but a strong increase in activity for its international business, where it was up 7.3%.

Sales in the group’s contracting activities in the first nine months reached almost €8.3 billion, down by 1.2% – 2.2% on a like-for-like basis. Construction sales were €2.49 billion, which was a drop of 6.4% on a reported basis and 6.3% like-for-like.

Construction sales in France declined by 6.9% to €2.02 billion, while Eiffage reported a decline in sales for the rest of Europe of 4.2% to €478 million.

It said the branch order intake suggested a good trend for activity in 2016.

For infrastructure excluding public works, sales of €3.15 billion showed a fall of 5.9% on a reported basis and by 7.9% like-for-like. In France, sales declined by 10.2% to €2.32 billion, particularly in road construction and maintenance, but also in civil engineering given a lower level of activity, as expected, for the Bretagne-Pays de la Loire high-speed rail line project (BPL) project.

It added that the first works linked to a motorway stimulus package were expected during 2016.

In the rest of Europe, sales increased by 10.1% to €684 million, driven in particular by Spain, where sales increased by 41.8%.

Outside Europe, Eiffage said sales increased by 0.7% to €146 million, of which €59 million was contributed by recently acquired companies – mainly ICCI in Canada and Puentes y Torones in Colombia, which both specialise in the construction of civil engineering structures.

Looking ahead, the company said its order book reached €11.4 billion at 1 October, 2015. This represents a decrease of 4.1% year-on-year, but excluding the BPL project, it described the order book as broadly stable, having risen by 0.2%. It said this was equivalent to nearly 12 months of contracting activity. The group confirmed that guidance remained for a slight decline in activity over 2015 as a whole.

Eiffage is currently looking for a replacement for chairman and CEO of the group after the sudden death of Pierre Berger last month.

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