(Reuters) -French infrastructure group Vinci on Friday reported a 26% rise in half-year sales as airport traffic rebounded and motorway traffic surpassed pre-COVID levels.
Europe's biggest construction and concessions firm said first-half sales rose to 28.5 billion euros ($29.1 billion) from 22.6 billion a year earlier, also surpassing the 2019 pre-pandemic level by 31%.
"Vinci's overall performance was very solid in the first half of 2022, with almost all business lines generating revenue and earnings above pre-pandemic levels," Chief Executive Xavier Huillard said in a statement.
Vinci has seen a strong recovery from the pandemic-driven decline in its motorway and airport traffic this year as travel curbs were eased across Europe.
Revenue from its concessions division, which includes Vinci's motorways business and airports arm, grew 43% to 4.2 billion euros in the first six months of the year.
The airports unit, which includes London's Gatwick, saw a threefold increase in second-quarter passenger traffic as European travel recovered, although passenger numbers were still 27% below the pre-pandemic level.
On motorways, traffic exceeded 2019 levels for both light and heavy vehicles, Huillard said.
"Although the rise in fuel prices is affecting the trend for light vehicles, the trend for heavy vehicles remains positive," he added.
Vinci's construction business, which last year generated more than half of the group revenue, reported an 11% jump in first-half sales.
Despite a more selective approach to new orders due to cost inflation, Vinci's total order book reached 56.2 billion euros in the first half, a 22% increase from a year earlier and a 55% rise from the same period in 2019.
The group said the integration of Cobra IS, a renewable energy-focussed business it acquired last year from Spanish rival ACS, was on schedule and the business line was showing strong commercial momentum.
The French firm maintained its 2022 guidance for net income above the 2019 level.
(Reporting by Marta Frackowiak; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Milla Nissi)