The construction sector is expanding internationally
Last year, the order intake achieved international exceeded those made in France.
Construction, historical business Bouygues looks more and more like an old aunt of Brittany. It is forgotten by all ... except when it comes to money. Last year, the construction division contributed to net income to 679 million (+2%), against 71 million for TF1 and telecoms together. This contribution has identified a net income group share of 647 million (- 757 million after impairment of its stake in Alstom). And while Franco-French telecom turmoil monopolize attention (see above), the construction division rises successfully to attack North America, among others.
In the construction industry, where turnover reflects past sales, a key indicator, these are the orders - and the highlight was last year, their rise internationally.
Colas, a subsidiary of roadworks, the backlog grew 6% year on year to 7.1 billion despite lower than 5% of French commands. International jumped 18% year on year to 3.8 billion, to become the majority. This will help to offset a 2014 that looks awful in France. Years of municipal elections traditionally represent an air hole, the old team who completed their orders and not following through not the year of installation.
Accentuate the trend
The same goes for Bouygues Construction: new international orders jumped 28% to 6.1 billion, now exceeds the French part, that fall. The aggregate book orders Bouygues Construction and Colas, in a year, the international share increased from 46% to 50%. And the group wants to accentuate the trend.
Maintain the level of international orders in 2013 will not yet clear, because it includes a record contract, $ 1.15 billion for a tunnel in Hong Kong. But accumulates Bouygues signs of strengthening its positions. It will deliver around May, an equally exceptional Miami tunnel. It was the first U.S. contract Bouygues Construction. Since then he has won in the building and watching a second, still in Miami. In Canada, where he was not present there another five years, it now has several contracts, and is active in Vancouver oversees projects related to the Champlain Bridge in Montreal. In Asia, he came to Myanmar (Burma) and expects to announce soon a big contract in Australia.
The construction group has no choice, because international is fundamental "in France, the period of major contracts of more than 300 or 400 million is over" , says Yves Gabriel, the leader of Bouygues Construction. Otherwise, his ambition in France is mainly to announce before 14 March (date of court hearing) an agreement with the banks and the state to resume construction of the Tribunal de Grande Instance (TGI) of Paris. It is stopped since July, due to appeal against the building permit. It is finding safeguards to ensure that banks finance the construction despite appeals. Bouygues considering a formula guaranteed.
The only subsidiary of BTP well out in France, Bouygues Immobilier is. The first French promoter, elbow to elbow with Nexity, was hit by the downturn in the office market but sold 10,900 units last year (4%) to € 1.8 billion (+9 %).
Finally, the construction division broke a record last year, generating € 821 million of free cash flow, against only 24 million for capital intensive telecom. Hopefully, in the future, the hoard of old aunt is not eaten by the phone bill of the prodigal nephew.