Eiffage to Pursue Path of Expansion Begun by Late CEO Berger

Eiffage SA said a new leadership team will continue a program set in motion by late Chief Executive Officer Pierre Berger of increased productivity at the French construction company and an expansion in international markets.

“We have no reason to fear 2016,” founder and interim Chairman Jean-Francois Roverato said at a press conference in Paris on Wednesday. The Velizy-Villacoublay, France-based company will stick to 2015 targets set before 47 year-old Berger’s death of a heart attack in October, he said.

Eiffage appointed Benoit De Ruffray, 49, as chairman and CEO of France’s third-biggest construction company earlier on Wednesday, effective from Jan. 18. De Ruffray had been CEO of Vinci SA unit Soletanche Freyssinet since March.

Berger was named CEO of Eiffage in 2011 and became chairman the next year. Brought in from bigger rival Vinci, he was charged with restoring margins at the company’s construction business hurt by the economic downturn in France and Spain. As the restructuring started to take hold, Berger said he was hoping Eiffage would become more acquisitive. He bought businesses in Belgium, Canada and Latin America, and was pushing to expand in Africa.

France’s third-largest construction group by sales after Bouygues SA and Vinci, Eiffage has roots in Societe Eiffel, famous for having built iconic metallic buildings such as the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty. Eiffage also built the Sydney opera house and more recently the Millau viaduct, a cable-stayed bridge in southwestern France.

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