Bouygues CEO’s Cost Purge Pays Off as Loss Smaller Than Estimate

Bouygues SA, the French building, media and telecommunications conglomerate, posted a smaller-than-estimated loss as it slashed costs and added customers at its phone operations.

Bouygues had an operating loss of 216 million euros ($243 million) following a restated 18 million-euro profit a year earlier that was inflated by one-time items, the Paris-based company said Wednesday in a statement. The average of three estimates compiled by Bloomberg was for an operating loss of 256 million euros.

“The first quarter of 2015 was marked by the good performance of Bouygues Telecom in both the mobile and fixed segments,” the company said in the statement. “Commercial momentum continued in the construction businesses, driven by their competitiveness and international expansion.”

Bouygues, which is cutting jobs and costs at its telecom unit to offset a price war, reiterated a prediction for stable 2015 earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization from phone services. It also confirmed all its other forecasts for 2015.

The company repeated its prediction that the so-called current operating margin of its construction businesses will remain stable this year despite declining sales as it adjusts to lower demand for roadworks from cash-strapped French local governments.

Bouygues posted a net loss of 157 million euros in the first quarter as revenue dropped 2 percent, also beating estimates.

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