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11/11/05BUSINESS NEWS

08 Nov 05. Michele Alliot-Marie, the French minister of defence, informed the National Assembly yesterday that her goal was to end the period of uncertainty at Thales, the French defence and aerospace group in which the French state has a holding of 31 per cent. Ms Alliot-Marie said that rumours and tactless declarations about Thales had weakened the company. In particular, the defence minister said that it was important to know as quickly as possible what was to happen at the company in view of the large number of different alliances that are possible: although a merger with French shipbuilder DCN has been expected for several months, EADS, the European aeronautic defence and space company, is also interested in Thales. Finmeccanica, the Italian engineering, aerospace and defence group, has also been mentioned as a possible partner, as has Alcatel, the French telecoms equipment manufacturer. Abstracted from Les Echos

09 Nov 05. EADS, Europe’s leading aerospace group and Airbus majority shareholder, raised its profits forecast on Wednesday for the current year, as it reported sharply higher earnings for the first nine months, supported by rising aircraft deliveries by Airbus. The Franco-German group said that its order intake had been “extremely robust” both for Airbus and its defence businesses and claimed that it had the strongest order book in the global aerospace and defence industry at €210.4bn, ahead of its main rival Boeing of the US. The performances of both groups are being helped by the upturn in the aviation industry and Airbus, which is owned 80 per cent by EADS and 20 per cent by BAE Systems of the UK, has forecast that 2005 could be close to a record year for global commercial aircraft orders. Airbus booked 417 gross new aircraft orders in the the first nine months, more than double the 189 taken in the same period a year ago, with 43 per cent of the order intake coming from the Asia-Pacific region. Airbus deliveries rose by 21 per cent in the first nine months from 224 to 271 and deliveries for the whole of 2005 are expected to total 370, up from 320 last year. EADS said that it had raised its group operating profit target for 2005 to €2.75bn from its previous guidance of more than €2.6bn and up from an actual operating profit of €2.43bn last year. Group turnover is forecast to rise from €31.8bn to €33bn this year including a 10 per cent increase in defence revenues to €8.5bn. Earnings per share for the full year are forecast to rise from €1.27 to €1.65. EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space) said that its operating profits (earnings before interest and tax and excluding goodwill impairment and exceptional items, seen by the company as the key indicator of its economic performance) had risen by 41 per cent in the first nine months from €1.49bn to €2.1bn. Its operating profit margin increased from 7 to 9 per cent. Turnover rose by 9 per cent to €23.4bn, while net profit rose by 74 per cent to €1bn and new orders increased by 88 per cent to €38.8bn. Tom Enders and Noël Forgeard, the EADS co-chief executives, said the group’s strong performance was due to the increase in Airbus deliveries, higher revenues and earnings in its defence businesses, and the elimination of losses in its space division. (Source: FT)

10 Nov 05. Thales Group consolidated revenues in the first nine months of 2005 totalled €6,809m, an increase of 3.6% compared to revenues for the same period in 2004 (€6,573m). On a like-for-like basis, revenues increased by 4.4%. Exchange rate fluctuations had a very limited overall effect, reducing revenues by €4m. Changes in the scope of consolidation (mainly due to the deconsolidation of Thales Electronic Solutions, which was divested on 30 November 2004) resulted in a net reduction in revenues of €42m. In the third quarter alone, revenues increased by 3.1% on a like-for-like basis, slightly below the first half-year growth rate (+4.9%). This is the result of lower billings from the Naval di

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