Thales reports huge spurt in first half earnings

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French defence and aerospace group Thales reported a surge in first half net earnings to 138 million euros (179 million dollars) from 12 million in the same period last year and confirmed its 2010 targets.

Sales in the period rose 4.0 percent to 5.955 billion euros.

Orders fell 12 percent to 5.144 billion euros from the first half of 2009, when the company secured several big contracts.

But the order book since the start of this year has grown by 1.0 percent in value.

"It's a gradual improvement in line with our forecasts in an environment that is becoming difficult," said Thales chief executive lLc Vigneron.

For 2010 the group foresees stable sales, an operating margin of between 3.0 and 4.0 percent and a decline in orders.

Thales suffered a net loss of 202 million euros in 2009 that it attributed to difficulties in its aeronautic division.

© 2010 AFP

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