PARIS Feb 23 French conglomerate Bouygues
said on Thursday that improved profitability at its
telecoms unit helped it deliver a forecast-beating operating
profit last year despite lower sales, and it predicted a further
rise in group profitability for 2017.
The robust performance at the telecoms business, France's
third-biggest mobile operator, which Bouygues failed to merge
with market leader Orange last year, is likely to
further reassure it that the unit can thrive on its own at a
time of renewed speculation about possible sector consolidation.
The family-controlled group, which also builds roads and
owns TF1, France's biggest private broadcaster, said
current operating profit reached 1.121 billion euros ($1.2
billion) last year, against 941 million in 2015.
Sales reached 31.738 billion euros, down 2 percent from a
Analysts polled by Inquiry Financial for Reuters were
predicting operating profit of 1.054 billion euros on sales of
31.673 billion euros.
($1 = 0.9473 euros)
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)