Bouygues lifts profit goal for telecoms unit

Reuters
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A man checks his mobile device at a French telecom operator Bouygues Telecom store in Paris

A man checks his mobile device at a French telecom operator Bouygues Telecom store in Paris, France, June 23, 2015. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann

PARIS (Reuters) - French conglomerate Bouygues raised its full-year core earnings and cost savings targets for its telecom business on Thursday as it posted a 51 percent rise in first-half group current operating profit.

The company now expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) at Bouygues Telecom to rise to around 750 million euros (549 million pounds) this year from 694 million last year. It previously forecast stable profit.

"Thanks to a good commercial performance, and tight control of marketing and operating costs, the outlook for Bouygues Telecom has been revised upwards," Bouygues said in a statement.

Bouygues Telecom will also "significantly" exceed its target for 300 million euros of cost savings in 2016 versus the end of 2013, the company added.

In June, Bouygues head Martin Bouygues rebuffed a 10 billion euro bid for Bouygues Telecom, France's third-largest mobile operator, by Altice , the holding company of tycoon Patrick Drahi.

He said the unit could thrive on its own and that a sale would threaten jobs and face antitrust hurdles.

Bouygues kept its full-year targets for its construction business and private broadcaster TF1 on Thursday.

The family-controlled group said first-half current operating profit rose to 119 million euros from 79 million a year earlier as income more than doubled at TF1 and Bouygues Telecom pared its losses, offsetting a profit decline at its construction business.

Sales slipped 1 percent to 15.098 billion euros.

(Reporting by James Regan; Editing by Dominique Vidalon and William Hardy)