Spain's largest builder ACS posts 36.5 percent profit drop

28th October 2010, Comments 0 comments

Spain's largest construction group ACS said Thursday its net profit during the first nine months of the year fell 36.5 percent from the year-ago period when its results were boosted by the sale of its stake in Union Fenosa.

The company, run by Florentino Perez who is also chairman of the Spanish football club Real Madrid, said its net profit in the January-September period dropped to 1.13 billion euros from 1.78 billion euros last year.

The results for last year were inflated by an extraordinary gain resulting from the sale of ACS's 35.3 percent stake in Spanish gas and electricity giant Union Fenosa for one billion euros.

Ordinary net profit from continuing operations during the first nine months of the year rose 8.1 percent to 735 million euros while total turnover rose 1.1 percent to 12.2 billion euros, backed by strong growth in international sales.

Sales outside of Spain grew by 31.4 percent to 3.67 billion euros. They accounted for 30.1 percent of total sales, up from 23.1 percent last year.

Among the projects ACS is involved in overseas is the refurbishment of the railway system in Chile following February's devastating earthquake that killed over 500 people and the construction of a dike at the Algerian port of Arzew.

Spanish contruction firms have stepped up activities in their international segments to shield themselves from a domestic downturn following the collapse of a property bubble in 2007.

The downturn has left thousands of unsold homes across the country and it transformed a budget surplus into to the third-biggest eurozone deficit after Greece and Ireland, prompting the government to suspend dozens of road and rail projects in Spain.

ACS is currently in discussions to take a majority stake in German construction group Hochtief, of which it already holds 30 percent.

The Spanish company launched a takeover bid September 16, offering eight ACS shares for five of Hochtief's, Germany's largest public works group.

© 2010 AFP

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