August 30, 2017 / 4:03 PM / 2 years ago

Construction group Eiffage H1 profits rise, in talks over buying Saipem unit

* In talks over buying Saipem’s maritime works unit

* Eiffage H1 profits rise, keeps outlook

PARIS, Aug 30 (Reuters) - Construction group Eiffage maintained its full-year target for higher profits and revenue after posting an increase in first-half earnings, and said it was in talks over buying a business from Italy’s Saipem .

Eiffage, which is France’s third-largest builder behind Vinci and Bouygues, said it was in exclusive talks over acquiring Saipem’s maritimes works division, which had 2016 sales of around 100 million euros ($119 million).

Eiffage’s core first-half operating profits rose 7.4 percent to 727 million euros, with sales up 7.6 percent to nearly 7 billion euros due to growth in all of its main businesses.

Its operating margin was stable at 10.4 percent.

“Over the year as a whole, the group expects an increase in activity combined with further growth in its results,” Eiffage said in a statement.

Eiffage, which built the Millau Viaduct in France and took part in the construction of the Sydney Opera House, generates roughly 85 percent of its revenue from contracting operations - which include construction and public works - and the rest from concessions in mainly motorways but also prisons and hospitals.

$1 = 0.8393 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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