PARIS, Oct 20 (Reuters) - French infrastructure group Vinci
expects earnings to continue falling in the second
half of the year, as weakness at its pandemic-ravaged airports
business outweighs signs of a recovery in construction and
The owner of London's Gatwick airport said on Tuesday the
earnings decline should be less steep than in the first six
months of 2020, when revenue fell 15% and operating income was
down nearly 90%. It expects to return to growth in 2021.
Vinci said revenue fell 6.4% to 12.3 billion euros ($14.5
billion) in the third quarter. It managed to contain some of the
fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic after construction projects
restarted, and its contracting unit, which operates in areas
like energy, picked up steam too.
But its airports business - hit hard by measures to control
the pandemic, despite an easing of restrictions in recent months
- remained under pressure, including as governments take new
steps to contain the virus' spread.
Vinci said it now expected the fall in passenger numbers to
reach 70% this year, compared to its previous forecast for a 65%
CEO Xavier Huillard told a conference call that the group,
which made a 5.2 billion euro bid earlier this month for Cobra,
an industrial unit held by Spanish engineering and
infrastructure group ACS's, was now at the due
diligence phase of the deal.
($1 = 0.8459 euros)
(Reporting by Sarah White; Editing by Mark Potter)