October 23, 2018 / 4:15 PM / 6 months ago

UPDATE 1-French construction group Vinci Q3 sales rise, confident over Q4

* Q3 revenue 11.682 bln euros vs 11.461 bln forecast

* Keeps 2018 goals (Adds details from statement)

By Dominique Vidalon

PARIS, Oct 23 (Reuters) - French construction and engineering group Vinci posted a stronger-than-expected 9.5 percent rise in third-quarter sales, helped by robust activity in its airports and motorway concessions units and at its construction business.

Vinci, Europe’s biggest construction and concessions company, said it had begun the last quarter of 2018 with confidence and kept forecasts for higher revenue and earnings this year.

Total revenue reached 11.682 billion euros ($13.41 billion)in the quarter, above median estimates of 11.461 billion euros in an Inquiry Financial poll for Reuters.

Excluding currency fluctuations and acquisitions or disposals, revenue rose 4.3 percent year-on-year, Vinci said.

Vinci has been expanding into faster-growing and more profitable concessions such as airports and motorways, as well as in engineering projects for the energy industry, to counter signs of weakness elsewhere in the construction sector.

Revenue from the concessions business rose 4.7 percent, driven by a 13.5 percent jump in the airport segment, while revenue from its contracting arm, which includes Vinci Energies, Eurovia and Vinci Construction, grew 11 percent.

The robust performance contrasted with that of French conglomerate Bouygues, which last week lowered its full year operating profit forecast, citing difficulties at its construction businesses during the third quarter.

$1 = 0.8712 euros Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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