August 29, 2019 / 6:24 AM / 19 days ago

UPDATE 1-Bouygues' profits jump on back of growth at telecoms and TV arms

* Long-time CFO Marien to retire

* H1 current op. profit up 36%

* Confirms 2019 outlook (Adds details, CFO replacement)

By Mathieu Rosemain and Gilles Guillaume

PARIS, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Bouygues posted a better-than-expected first-half core operating profit, as its telecoms and TV units helped offset weakness at the French conglomerate’s construction businesses.

The family-owned group has historically enjoyed stronger profitability at TF1, France’s biggest private TV broadcaster, and Bouygues Telecom, while the bulk of its activity resides in real estate and the building of infrastructures and roads.

This proved true again over the first six months of the year, marked by tougher competition within the construction business, which was also impacted by a rise in the cost of production that weighed on earnings.

By contrast, Bouygues Telecom said it had won new customers during the period.

The division, which competes against Orange, Altice Europe’s SFR and Iliad in France’s cut-throat telecoms market, added 280,000 mobile customers and 176,000 broadband fibre customers in first-half.

Bouygues’ group current operating profit jumped 36% to 453 million euros ($504.8 million) over the first six months of the year, beating the median average of analysts’ forecasts.

Revenues advanced by 11%, or 5% at a like-for-like and constant exchange rates basis, to 17.45 billion euros.

Bouygues confirmed its full-year guidance, including an improvement of the group’s profitability and a free cash flow of 300 million euros at Bouygues Telecom.

The company also announced that company veteran Philippe Marien, 63, who served as chief financial officer for the last twelve years, will retire after the publication of the 2019 full-year results.

He will be replaced by another insider, Pascal Grangé, 58, who up to now served as deputy CEO responsible for strategy and finance. Grangé will formally become the new CFO on Oct. 1.

$1 = 0.8973 euros Reporting by Mathieu Rosemain and Gilles Guillaume; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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