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By Valentine Baldassari and Elitsa Gadeva
(Reuters) -French conglomerate Bouygues reported better than expected first-half core profit on Tuesday and raised its telecoms division's targets for the full year.
The construction, telecoms and media group posted current operating profit - operating profit excluding exceptional costs mainly related to merger and acquisition activity - of 492 million euros ($505 million) for the six months to June 30. That beat a median forecast of 409 million euros in an analyst poll compiled by the company.
The group now expects Bouygues Telecom's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) after leases to increase by more than 8% in 2022, having previously projected growth of about 7%.
Bouygues Telecom also changed its target of 5% growth in sales from services to more than 5% growth in sales billed to customers, which it said was "more representative of its performance".
Sales in construction and services, which accounted for 74% of Bouygues' revenue, were up 7% to 13.72 billion euros, mainly driven by its Colas subsidiary.
Colas recorded sales of 6.52 billion euros over the period but its current operating result was down 60% year-on-year to a loss of 160 million euros.
Bouygues' net profit (group share) came in at 147 million euros, including costs related to a planned merger between its TV arm TF1 and rival M6 and the acquisition of energy services group Equans.
That was down 64% from the first six months of last year, when net profit was boosted by the sale of several data centres and of shares in trainmaker Alstom.
In the second half, Bouygues expects another 45 million euros in costs linked to M&A, CEO Olivier Roussat told journalists.
TF1 and Bouygues last week said that the French competition authority had concerns about the proposed merger of TF1 and M6.
On Equans, the company is awaiting the decision of the UK competition watchdog, which said on Tuesday it would consider Bouygues' offer.
Shares in Bouygues were up 0.82% at 0936 GMT while Colas had fallen 1.69%.
($1 = 0.9738 euros)
(Reporting by Valentine Baldassari and Elitsa GadevaEditing by Christian Schmollinger, David Goodman and Louise Heavens)