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MADRID May 8 Spanish construction and services
firm ACS reported a 14.5 percent drop in first-quarter
core earnings on Thursday, hit by the depreciation of the
Australian and U.S. dollars against the euro.
At constant exchange rates, earnings before interest, tax,
depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) would have grown by 5.4
percent, the company said.
The firm's construction sales in Spain continued to fall,
down 14 percent, despite the country emerging from recession
ACS has greatly reduced its exposure to Spain after taking a
controlling stake in German builder Hochtief which in
turn is seeking to tighten its hold on majority-owned Australian
Spain's battered construction stocks, which lost around 80
percent of their value during a prolonged economic downturn, are
benefiting from renewed interest as investors look to profit
from an incipient Spanish recovery.
Like peers FCC and Sacyr, ACS's shares
have risen strongly over the past 12 months and are up 25
percent so far in 2014, outpacing the Spanish blue-chip index
The firm's stake in Hochtief recently rose to around 55
percent, from around 49 percent, when the German builder
cancelled 10 percent of its treasury stock. Spain now represents
just 18 percent of sales, the company said.
ACS reported sales in line with expectations at 8.8 billion
euros, down 3.4 percent on the year-ago period, also due to
negative exchange rate effects. Net profit rose 20 percent,
buoyed by an increase in the value of financial instruments on
Net debt stood at 4.6 billion euros at the end of March,
down 18 percent from the year-ago figure. The company is due to
hold a conference call for analysts on Friday at 1030 GMT.
(Reporting By Sonya Dowsett; Editing by Elisabeth O'Leary and