Vinci warns of “pronounced” revenue drop as Covid-19 hits construction across Europe

French construction and concessions group Vinci warns today that it will suffer a pronounced decline in revenue because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and will not be able to meet its 2020 targets.

Passenger numbers at airports it operates fell 40% in the first three weeks of March, and containment measures taken by many countries were expected to hit even harder.

The company said a plan to reduce operating expenses and defer investments was being implemented across all airports.

Its toll roads business has been hit with a 16% fall so far in March, as containment measures taken in France intensified the decline in traffic levels. However, the fall in heavy vehicle traffic has been less severe, with France maintaining a basic level of economic activity.

In contracting, the French government’s actions to limit the spread of the virus have caused a large number of projects to be put on hold since 16 March. Industry organisations have held talks with the public authorities to define conditions under which works can resume while ensuring the health of those involved.

Outside France, the company said it had been possible to "maintain business activity" in many countries, particularly in Southeast Asia, Oceania, the Middle East, Africa and Latin America, along with certain European countries and states of the US.

The company added that it was not yet possible to estimate the impact on its financial statements given uncertainty about how long the pandemic will last. The company’s share price has fallen almost 30% this year.

It has plenty of liquidity, with €6.5bn available in cash, but it said the target of higher revenues and earnings in 2020 would likely not be met.

Elsewhere in Europe:

  • Dutch contractor BAM announced suspended work on around 1,200 sites in Belgium last week.
  • French road builder Colas has halted all road construction work in France.
  • Poland is expected to shut down all construction work.
  • Swiss contractor Implenia says it is restricting work on its sites and closing some altogether in Switzerland, Germany, France and Austria. Those in Sweden and Norway will operate as normal until further notice.

Image: Traffic on French autoroutes has fallen rapidly since the advent of Covid-19 (Raimond Spekking/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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