PARIS (Reuters) - French conglomerate Bouygues delivered higher 2018 profits broadly in line with forecasts and predicted a further increase in earnings for 2019 and growth at its telecoms arm.
The family-controlled group has recently had problems at its construction division which have been offset by the strength of its telecoms unit, but Bouygues said all its main businesses, including construction, had improved in the fourth quarter.
Bouygues' current operating profits rose 7.5 percent from a year earlier to 1.51 billion euros (1.3 billion pounds), while sales rose 8 percent to 35.56 billion euros.
Core earnings at Bouygues Telecom, France's third-biggest mobile operator which Bouygues failed to merge with market leader Orange in 2016, rose by 171 million euros from a year earlier to 1.27 billion euros.
For 2019, Bouygues said it hoped to improve group profits and generate some 300 million euros of free cash flow at Bouygues Telecom.
(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)