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Bouygues Quarterly Loss Deepens Amid Price War in Mobile Phones

May 15 (Bloomberg) -- Bouygues SA said its operating loss deepened in the first quarter amid a price war in mobile phones, spurring the French building and telecommunications company to seek 300 million euros ($411 million) in savings.

The operating loss before one-time items and restructuring costs widened to 96 million euros from 77 million euros, the Paris-based company said in a statement today. Revenue climbed 3 percent to 6.84 billion euros.

Bouygues, which reiterated that group sales in 2014 will be “close to the 2013 level,” is selling assets and cutting costs to counter discount phone carrier Iliad SA. It’s backing the plan of Alstom SA, in which it has a 29 percent stake, to consider the sale of its energy-equipment units to General Electic Co for $17 billion.

Bouygues Telecom, France’s third-largest mobile-phone company, posted a 23 percent drop in earnings to 163 million euros as revenue dropped by 5 percent. It lost 79,000 mobile customers in the first quarter and gained 100,000 customers in the fixed broadband market.

Bouygues maintained its prediction for a “robust” operating performance of construction businesses this year.

Last month, Vivendi SA snubbed Bouygues’s offer to buy SFR, France’s second-largest phone operator, and agreed instead to sell it to Altice SA in a deal valued at more than 17 billion euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Francois de Beaupuy in Paris at fdebeaupuy@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Andrew Noel at anoel@bloomberg.net

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