February 5, 2020 / 6:57 AM / 15 days ago

France's Vinci confident on 2020 after 15% profit rise

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) - Motorways and airports operator Vinci (SGEF.PA) said on Wednesday that despite uncertain geo-political conditions it was going into 2020 with confidence.

The French firm reported a 10% rise in 2019 revenue, and said it expects sales and profits to grow further in 2020 though at a more limited pace due to a high comparison basis.

Its operating profit rose 15% to 5.7 billion euros ($6.29 billion) on sales of 48.1 billion euros driven by a strong airport and motorway concessions business.

The results “confirm the strength of our concession-contracting business model and ability to integrate new companies successfully,” Chairman and CEO Xavier Huillard said in a statement.

Vinci, which added London’s Gatwick airport to its portfolio last year after buying a majority stake, has been focusing on concessions in this field and in motorways, as well as engineering projects in the energy sector.

Its construction unit - its single biggest business by revenue - reported a 4.9% rise in revenue supported in France by strong activity of the Grand Paris region rail network project.

Vinci said its construction order book stood at 36.5 billion euros at end-December, up 10% year on year.

The group, which manages 45 airports worldwide, said passengers numbers at Vinci Airports grew 5.7% but growth slowed in the fourth quarter in some airports due notably to the Thomas Cook bankruptcy, pre-Brexit uncertainties, tensions between Japan and South Korea and social unrest in Chile.

Reporting by Sarah White, Dominique Vidalon; editing by Himani Sarkar and Jason Neely

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