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UPDATE 1-French group Bouygues keeps goals as Q1 operating loss narrows

Dominique Vidalon

* Q1 operating loss 58 mln euros vs 94 mln loss year-ago

* Colas losses partly offset by strong Bouygues Telecom

* Keeps outlook for improved group profitability in 2019 (Adds detail and background)

PARIS, May 16 (Reuters) - Conglomerate Bouygues posted better-than-expected first quarter results and kept its full-year targets, as the strong performance of its telecoms arm offset weakness at the Colas road building business and led to reduced losses.

The French conglomerate stuck to its prediction that it would improve group profitability over the full year.

The family-controlled Bouygues group, which also builds roads and owns France's biggest private TV broadcaster TF1 , said first-quarter revenue reached 7.933 billion euros ($8.9 billion), up 16% from 6.826 billion a year ago.

Its current operating loss narrowed to 58 million euros from a loss of 94 million euros a year earlier.

According to a company compiled poll of six analysts, the median forecasts for Bouygues had predicted quarterly sales of 7.261 billion euros and a current operating loss of 87 million.

Losses of 298 million euros at Colas were partly offset quarter by profits of 91 million euros at Bouygues Telecom and profits of 63 million euros at TF1.

Bouygues, which failed to merge its telecoms unit with market leader Orange three years ago, reiterated its forecast of generating some 300 million euros of free cash flow at Bouygues Telecom this year.

Bouygues Telecom won 459,000 new mobile customers in the quarter. The unit's revenues rose 13% to 1.451 billion euros while its operating profit grew by 32 million euros.

Orange, France's former monopoly, reported last month that quarterly sales in France had fallen for the first time since 2017, highlighting the tough environment in the country where rivals are engaged in a race to win market share.

Bouygues Telecom and domestic rivals Iliad, Orange and Altice Europe's SFR are in a race to win customers for their fixed and mobile businesses, while also having to spend billions of euros on upgrading their networks.

($1 = 0.8922 euros) (Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)