Vinci Sales Increase 3.4 Percent on Acquisitions, New Contracts

Vinci SA, Europe’s biggest builder, said first-quarter sales rose 3.4 percent as acquisitions and new contracts offset a construction slowdown in some markets.

First-quarter sales climbed to 8.4 billion euros ($10.9 billion), the company, based in Rueil-Malmaison near Paris, said in a statement today. In France, Vinci’s biggest market, sales dropped 0.3 percent to 5.3 billion euros.

The company faces a slowdown in traffic at its French Autoroutes highway infrastructure business amid rising unemployment while cash-strapped European governments and utilities hesitate to spend more on public projects. To counter that, Vinci agreed in December to buy Portuguese airport operator ANA-Aeroportos de Portugal SA for 3.1 billion euros to benefit from growing travel to Latin America and Africa.

“The group is expecting business to be at least stable in 2013, before taking the ANA or any other new acquisitions into account,” Vinci said today. The company also predicts a “small increase” at its Autoroutes unit.

The company’s order intake in the first quarter was 9.1 billion euros, an increase of 5.5 percent from a year earlier.

Significant contracts booked in the quarter include the Atlantic Bridge in Panama, the East End Crossing of the Ohio River Bridges Project in Kentucky and a water engineering contract in Jamaica, the company said.

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