French construction and telecoms group Bouygues recorded a 9% rise in net profits in 2008 to EUR1.50 billion (USD1.89 billion), up from EUR1.38 billion a year earlier, but forecasts a 3% dip in sales in the coming year due to the uncertain economic climate. Bouygues sees group sales reaching EUR31.7 billion in 2009, down from its previous forecast of EUR32.5 billion and said it was being both ‘pragmatic and active.’ The group’s Bouygues Telecom unit turned in a good performance in 2008 and entered the domestic DSL market as an operator. Overall sales at the unit rose 6% to EUR5.08 billion, while sales from network services climbed 5% to EUR4.69 billion. Operating profit increased by 10% year-on-year to EUR817 million, despite the impact of the company’s entry into the fixed line broadband sector, while net profit rose by 9% to EUR534 million. In its mobile phone business, Bouygues said the EBITDA margin improved by one percentage point to 31% and CAPEX jumped 46% y-o-y to EUR872 million due to accelerated rollout of its 3G+ network and the acquisition of a DSL network on 30 June 2008. Some 450,000 new contract customers joined Bouygues Telecom in 2008, an increase of 6.7%. The company had 9,594,000 mobile customers at 31 December 2008. Of these, 7,217,000 were on contracts, representing 75% of the total customer base, a year-on-year increase of 2.1 percentage points.