LISBON, April 18 (Reuters) - Portugal's largest builder, Mota-Engil, posted a flat net profit of 51 million euros for 2014, impacted by its stake in loss-making Martifer, while sales and operating earnings rose, mainly driven by its overseas operations.
While overall sales edged up 2.4 percent to 2.37 billion euros, earnings before interest, taxes depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) jumped 13 percent to 409 million euros, the company said on its web site. (here)
Mota's foreign business outside Europe reached 68 percent of revenues as sales jumped 26 percent in Latin America and rose more than 5 percent in Africa. Sales in Europe rose 2 percent.
"Net income in 2014 was impacted by Martifer's losses, mostly due to higher non-cash write downs," Mota-Engil said in a statement. Metal construction firm Martifer, in which Mota is the second-largest shareholder, saw its net loss nearly double last year to 137 million euros.
Mota's order book reached an all-time high of over 4.4 billion euros, of which 77 percent was in markets outside Europe, which Mota said allows it to envisage strong sustainable growth. Mexico was top in terms of orders.
Mota also announced new contracts worth 713 million euros, nearly half of the total with Brazil's iron ore giant Vale , which will be added to the order backlog.
Mota rode out the debt crisis in Portugal, which led to a sharp slump in construction over the past few years, by sharply boosting its business in fast growing markets like Africa and Latin America.
Mota said its engineering and construction division's revenues were still pressured by a challenging environment in Portugal and Poland, "although reflecting a slight improvement", while the services business that includes logistics benefited from an economic recovery in Portugal. (Reporting By Andrei Khalip; Editing by Rosalind Russell)