Bouygues reported first quarter sales of € 6,6 billion, down -2% on the € 6,8 billion recorded 12 months earlier. Pre-tax profits dropped to € 174 million, down -55% on the € 387 million recorded for the same period last year.
Of the Group divisions, Bouygues Construction reported a +4% increase in sales but falling interest rates and specification changes in the Gautrain rail project in South Africa saw pre-tax profits fall -31% to € 48 million.
A company spokesperson said, "The Gautrain project is very large and complex with an overall value exceeding € 1,1 billion and a project value to Bouygues of € 500 million. The 80 km rail line features 15 km of tunnels and 10 km of viaducts and we have experienced some execution issues because of the complexity of the work.
"Changes in specifications have led to some cost overruns represented in this quarter's figures. Even if Bouygues pursues compensation, revenue for any claims cannot be booked in advance."
A -30% decrease in Bouygues Construction's order intake for the first quarter means the Group has revised its 2009 sales target downwards to € 31,3 billion, a reduction of -1,2% on the € 31,7 billion forecast in March.