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VINCI boss to Europe: Build and growth will come

From Juliet Mann, CNN
updated 2:28 PM EDT, Thu September 27, 2012
  • The name "Vinci" -- conjures notions of engineering genius and one of Italy's most revered sons
  • Now, a modern pioneer is keeping the name in the spotlight
  • VINCI has been involved in some of Europe's most high profile engineering feats
  • The company boss has a blunt message for Europe: Build and growth will come

(CNN) -- The name "Vinci" -- conjures notions of pioneers, engineering genius and one of Italy's most revered sons. Now, a modern pioneer is keeping the name in the spotlight.

VINCI is one of Europe's construction giants. And Xavier Huillard, the company's chief executive, is driving the company through times of austerity with a blunt message: Build and growth will come.

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VINCI -- founded in 1899 -- has been involved in some of Europe's most high profile engineering feats, including the Channel Tunnel which connects the UK and France, and was completed in 1994.

Like Leonardo da Vinci -- whose famous Mona Lisa is housed in the Louvre -- VINCI also has an installation in the reputed Paris art gallery. The company, based in the Paris suburbs, was responsible for building the gallery's infamous entrance -- the Louvre pyramid -- in 1989.

And according to Huillard, Europe must push through its difficult times by accelerating transport investment to jump start economic growth.

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Governments should work with private companies to increase infrastructure projects, thus making up for the shortfalls in public finances, he told CNN. French President Francois Hollande, for example, "is probably fully aware about this necessity to develop public private partnerships," Huillard said.

Huillard added: "We've been able to win big public private partnerships and concession contracts, for example like the high-speed train line we are currently building in the South West of France, which is an 8 billion euro contract."

Now VINCI is looking to emerging markets to fuel its expansion plans. Huillard said: "We decided to focus mainly on North and South America and India, while continuing to develop our business in the continent or the countries where we are currently, which is mainly Europe, including Russia, Africa, Middle East and Asia."

CNN's Oliver Joy contributed to this report

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