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28 Jul 10. French conglomerate Safran (SAF.PA) raised its key target on Wednesday after reporting a forecast-beating 23 percent jump in first-half operating profit boosted by aerospace services and security detection gear. The maker of aero engines, military infra-red goggles and biometric identification equipment said it had witnessed encouraging economic signs in the first half, including better passenger and freight demand and fewer parked aircraft. The French group, which recently expressed interest in a tie-up with smaller aerospace parts maker Zodiac (ZODC.PA), posted first-half operating income of 428m euros ($552.5m), up 23.3 percent from a restated 347m a year ago. The operating margin rose to 8.2 percent from 6.7 percent, based on sales which rose 0.9 percent to 5.2bn euros. Safran said it now expected the benchmark recurring operating margin to “trend towards the 8 percent range” in 2010, despite revenue remaining at similar levels to last year. The company had previously forecast a “moderate” increase in operating margin compared with a 2009 level of 6.7 percent.
“We are confident we are on track for solid earnings growth in future years,” Chief Executive Jean-Paul Herteman said in a statement, citing wins in the high-margin security business.
First-half net profit rose 7.7 percent to 223m euros. Safran profit figures beat market consensus forecasts but its revenue lagged expectations, according to figures compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Analysts had on average expected first-half operating profit of 295m
euros and net profit of 197m on sales of 5.295bn, according to the survey. Safran said its core aerospace propulsion division pulled in 15 percent more profit and boosted its margin to more than 11 percent. But it cited “continued softness” in the aftermarket for its most popular product, the CFM56 engine which powers the Boeing (BA.N) narrowbody 737 fleet as well as some Airbus jets. Safran co-owns CFM with General Electric (GE.N). Security earnings rose 53 percent due to acquisitions. The company recently invested in explosive detection technology. (Source: Reuters)

27 Jul 10. Stun-gun maker Taser International Inc (TASR.O) posted a wider quarterly loss, hurt by a delay in completion of several large international orders as well as weakness in its domestic law enforcement
business. For the second quarter, the company reported net loss of $1.4m, or 2 cents a share, compared with a loss of $723,403, or 1 cent a share, a year ago. Revenue fell 3 pct to $19.1m. Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 3 cents a share, on revenue of $18.6m, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Shares of the company closed at $4.37 Monday on Nasdaq. (Source: Reuters)

27 Jul 10. L-3 Communications Holdings Inc (NYSE:LLL – News) posted a higher quarterly profit on Tuesday on demand for products that gather and monitor intelligence, but cut its full-year forecast in wake of a contract loss. The company also said it expects an agreement with the U.S. Air Force that will allow a logistics unit to resume receiving federal contracts. The maker of explosive-detection devices and airport security scanners said net income was $227m, or $1.95 a diluted share for the second quarter, compared with $223m, or $1.90 a share, a year earlier. Excluding 9 cents tied to debt retirement and interest expense, profit was $2.04 a share. Analysts on average expected $1.93 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Sales rose 1 percent to nearly $4bn, compared with $4.03bn expected by analysts. L-3 said it now expects earnings of $8.05 to $8.25 for this year, compared with an April forecast calling for a profit of $8.13 to $8.33 a share. It cut its sales forecast to $16bn to $16.1bn from $16.2bn to $16.3bn previously. In June, the U.S. government awarded a contract worth up to $5bn for logistics support to Lockheed Martin Corp (NYSE:LMT – News) after the L-3 unit that was doing the work was suspended from receiving new federal contr

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