The Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest, Romania

The Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest, Romania

Increases in profit and revenues have been attributed to "a positive business trend" in the second quarter by Italian contractor Astaldi.

Stefano Cerri, CEO, said, "The positive trend of the second quarter has made it possible to make up the value of production forecast for the whole year, following a first quarter penalised by an especially harsh winter."

He said that 2012 laid the foundations for a new planning cycle characterised by additional growth, thanks to the group's ability for integrated offers comprising construction, concessions and plant engineering systems.

Astaldi said the first six months ended on the up, despite problems experienced in international markets.

It said that financial trends reflected intensification of a development plan for PPP (public-private partnership) projects, and that confirmation was provided of a sound equity structure with a level of net debt in line with plans. A return to more limited levels of debt was expected by the end of the year, it said.

Revenues increased in the first half of this year by 7.5% to €1.2 billion, compared to €1.1 billion at 30 June, 2011. Astaldi said production was boosted by foreign activities - 59.7% of its revenues - notably the Henri Coanda International Airport in Bucharest, Romania; the Huanza hydroelectric plant in Peru; the Warsaw underground and NR-8 road in Poland; the Pulkovo Airport in St Petersburg, Russia; and road works in the US.

The remaining 40.3% of activity in Italy was said to be a result of positive progress recorded for road and railway projects - Maxi Lots DG-21 and DG-22 of the Jonica national road, Bologna Centrale High-Speed Railway Station, Line 5 of the Milan underground and Line C of the Rome underground - as well as for four hospitals in Tuscany and the Police Officers' Academy in Florence.

From a sector viewpoint, transport infrastructure made the biggest contribution to production, said Astaldi, accounting for 87.5% of revenues. Civil and industrial construction accounted for 4.9% of revenues, and the water and energy sector for 4.1%, which included the start-up of recently acquired contracts in Peru - Huanza, Cerro de Aguila.

Foreign construction activities showed an increase in Europe - Romania, Poland and Russia - and a slowdown in Central America because of delays in the start-up of some new contracts which is expected to be made up during the year. It saw steady progress on works in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia (railways) and Oman (roads), plus confirmation of the previous year's levels for the Maghreb, Algeria, thanks to railway contracts already in progress.

Astaldi's EBT (earnings before taxes) amounted to €64.2 million (up 13.1% on the €56.7 million reported at 30 June, 2011) which meant a 13.6% increase in net profit to €39.8 million (€35 million at the same point last year).

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