Thales confirms 2010 targets after strong third quarter

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French defence and aerospace group Thales said Tuesday its 2010 revenues should remain stable despite falling orders following a strong third quarter marked by a contract to supply 81 satellites.

The company reported a five percent increase in revenue in the third quarter to 2.7 billion euros (3.73 billion dollars).

For the first nine months of the year revenues were up four percent at 8.661 billion euros.

But new orders in the first nine months of the year were down 13 percent at 7.384 billion euros from an exceptionally strong 2009. The order book dipped by only three percent however to 24 billion euros.

" expected, our order intake is lower than the exceptionally high levels of the last two years, in an environment marked by tight public spending in Europe and despite early signs of a recovery in commercial aeronautics," Thales Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Luc Vigneron said in a statement.

"We are focused on strengthening our competitiveness and our commercial position on emerging markets."

In October Thales finalised a contract worth 2.2 billion dollars to supply 81 telecommunications satellites to US firm Iridium Communication.

The company said this should help improve the ratio of orders to sales, although it would remain below one.

Overall, Thales said it should meet its 2010 target of an operating margin of between three and four percent.

© 2010 AFP

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