Bouygues keeps full-year goals in spite of weak Q1 results
Poor weather in Europe has hurt performance of the French conglomerate’s road construction arm Colas during irst quarter
PARIS: French conglomerate Bouygues posted a worse-thanexpected first quarter group operating loss, although it maintained its full year targets amid further signs of an improvement at its telecoms division.
Poor weather in Europe had hurt the performance of Bouygues’ road construction arm Colas during the first quarter, but Bouygues said the quarter was not representative of how the company expected to perform over the full year.
Bouygues’ telecoms arm also managed another improvement in its results and the French conglomerate stuck to its prediction for a further rise in profits over the full year.
Bouygues, which failed to merge its telecoms unit with market leader Orange two years ago, said it should continue to gradually improve its profits in 2018.
The family-controlled Bouygues group, which also builds roads and owns France’s biggest private TV broadcaster TF1 , said first-quarter revenue dipped to 6.826 billion euros ($8.1 billion) from 6.837 billion a year ago.
Its current operating loss also widened to 111 million euros from a 75 million loss last year, reflecting a 302 million loss at Colas.
According to a company compiled poll of 12 analysts, the median forecasts for Bouygues had predicted quarterly sales of 6.913 billion euros and a current operating loss of 101 million.
Yet Bouygues Telecom’s quarterly revenues rose 6 per cent to 1.281 billion euros and Bouygues Telecoms’ current operating profit also rose to 50 million euros from 32 million last year.
Bouygues Telecom also confirmed its targets for 2018 and 2019.
France’s telecoms sector, hit by a price war following the entrance of low-cost player Iliad in 2012, has been the subject of takeover speculation in recent years.
Last month, Bouygues said it was not in discussions with any other operator, denying a news report that it was weighing a bid to acquire the French SFR telecoms unit of rival Altice .
Bouygues Telecom has said it can prosper on its own and has responded with a turnaround plan including job cuts and a focus on the rollout of its 4G network and fixed-line broadband, helping it win new customers.
Bouygues Telecom’s robust performance came amid heavy promotions by Altice’s SFR and market leader Orange, which rival Iliad had partly blamed for its own weakerthan-expected results earlier this week.
Meanwhile, European stocks pushed higher in early trading on Thursday as Italian stocks recovered some lost ground and commodities-related sectors rallied, while shares in Ocado rocketed after the company signed a partnership deal.
The pan-european STOXX 600 was up 0.1 per cent, holding at 3-1/2 month highs as shares in energy stocks and miners rose, while Italy’s benchmark climbed more than 1 per cent as markets awaited the result of talks between two anti-system parties to form a coalition government.