French giant Vinci suffered a 10% fall in revenue in 2020 owing to the pandemic, the company revealed in its annual results on 5 February.
Behind that figure is a 70% drop in passenger numbers at the airports it manages, an 8.6% drop in revenue for Vinci Construction, with pain being felt in most other units of the conglomerate.
Net income to owners plunged 62% to €3.26bn.
But it is looking forward to a brighter 2021 with very high free cash flow – €4bn, close to the record figure for 2019 – a contracting order intake that rose 4% on 2019, and an order book that ended the year on a record €42.4bn, up 16% over the previous year.
The size of its order book grew 9% in France and 22% outside France, driven by major contract awards including on the Grand Paris Express transit scheme, Total’s new HQ in La Défense, preparatory work on the Avrieux shafts for the Lyon-Turin rail line, two works packages for the HS2 rail project in the UK, rehabilitation work on the Louis-Hippolyte La Fontaine tunnel in Montreal, the southern segment of the West Calgary Ring Road in Canada, and motorway construction and upgrade contracts in Australia.
"The health crisis resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic severely impacted VINCI’s financial performance in 2020," said Xavier Huillard, VINCI’s Chairman and CEO.
"When France introduced its first lockdown on 17 March 2020, almost all of the Group’s activities came to a halt. Subsequently, business levels in our Contracting business and to a lesser extent at VINCI Autoroutes recovered to near-normal levels, but VINCI Airports remained badly affected by the global decline in air traffic."
He added: "Looking beyond the difficulties we encountered, 2020 confirmed Vinci’s solid foundations, based on our very broad array of expertise and geographical locations. It also showed the agility and adaptability shown by our companies, which have strong roots in their communities, and the effectiveness of our decentralised managerial model based on responsibility at the local level, close to our operations on the ground and our clients."
Image: London Gatwick airport. Covid saw a 70% drop in passenger numbers at the airports Vinci manages (Photograph courtesy of Vinci/Â© Jeffrey Milstein)