July 27, 2018 / 5:26 AM / 4 months ago

French group Vinci keeps upbeat outlook as first-half profit rises

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Vinci is pictured during the company's 2017 annual results presentation in Paris, France, February 8, 2018. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French construction group Vinci (SGEF.PA) kept its forecasts for higher annual earnings and revenues as it reported an increase in first-half profit, helped by a solid performance at its airports and motorway concessions businesses.

Vinci, which is Europe’s biggest construction and concessions company, said first-half operating profit rose 11.4 percent to 2.1 billion euros (£2 billion), while revenues increased 6.7 percent to 19.8 billion euros.

This compared with forecasts of 2.04 billion euros for operating profit and revenue of 19.6 billion euros, based on an Inquiry Financial poll for Reuters.

Vinci also increased its interim dividend by 8.7 percent to 0.75 euros per share.

Vinci has been expanding into faster-growing and more profitable concessions such as airports and motorways as well as in engineering projects for the energy industry, in order to counter signs of weakness elsewhere in the construction sector.

“Based on these strong results and the group’s solid growth model, Vinci is going into the second half of the year with confidence, and confirms its revenue and earnings growth outlook for the full-year 2018,” said Vinci chairman and chief executive Xavier Huillard.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon and Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Sunil Nair

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