PARIS, Feb 5 (Reuters) - France’s Vinci is looking at opportunities to grow in concessions in Latin America and in oil and gas and infrastructures in Iran, as it further expands abroad to counter weak growth at home, its chief executive said on Friday.
Europe’s largest construction and concessions company generated 42 percent of its 2015 sales abroad and was “clearly on track” with its goal to lift that ratio to 50 percent and more within a few years, Xavier Huillard told a news conference.
To counter a slump in French construction, Vinci has expanded into faster growing and more profitable concessions such as airports, notably abroad and in motorways as well as in energy engineering.
In Iran, where Vinci was lined up last week to design, build and operate new terminals for two airports, the group was discussing opportunities in oil and gas and holding preliminary talks to build high-speed train stations in the country, Huillard said.
Vinci was also looking to grow all its businesses in America, notably motorway concessions in Brazil, Colombia and Mexico, and airport concessions in Peru.
Vinci operates 33 airports worldwide. In December it bought the Dominican Aerodom company, which operates six airports in the Dominican Republic.
The group also made its first foray into Japan by obtaining in November 2015 the right to operate Kansai International Airport in Osaka with Japan’s Orix Corp for the next 44 years.
“We had a very nice harvest in 2015. We would be delighted to match that in 2016 but this may not be the case. There are many opportunities but we are very selective,” Huillard said.
He reiterated Vinci was ready to bid for the Lyon and Nice airports in France, which are set to be privatised this year.
Vinci said after the market close on Thursday that the French construction market it operates in was stabilising and that group net and operating profits would rise this year even though revenue might decline slightly on a like-for-like basis.
By 1129 GMT Vinci shares gained 1.76 percent at 61.36 euros, outperforming a 0.17 percent gain in the CAC-40 index of French blue chips. They are up 24 percent over the past 12 months. (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; editing by Geert De Clercq)