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Strong order intake jump and guidance confirmed

  • 21 Oct 15

Orders over 9M 15 totalled €10.3bn, up 37% yoy so that Thales’ order book now represents more than two years of sales at €28.56bn. Aerospace orders remained stable at €3.15bn as space orders declined compared to an extremely positive year in 2014. Transport segment orders tripled to €2.5bn from €825m over 9M 14. Defence & Security stood at €4,642m, up +32% on 9M 14. The order intake over 9M has been particularly strong due to the high number of orders over €100m in value including three large scale space contracts (from the French Intelligence, European SA and Italian Space agency), and three large signalling contracts in the Transport division (Doha, Hong Kong and London). In defence, Thales has booked the Egyptian Rafale contract as well as Airport security contracts in Oman and the SV Scout contract in the UK. The order intake from emerging markets grew 42% to over €3.2bn. Sales over 9M 15 are up 9% to €9.1bn (+4% on a like-for-like basis and constant FX). Aerospace sales are up 9% to €3.58bn (+2% organically) thanks to favourable commercial avionics sales boosted by the addition of live TV in 2014 and revenues from Space activities following the significant orders in 2014. Transport sales are up 2% to €862m (-3% organically) as lower ticketing revenues were compensated by rail signalling revenues. Defence & Security sales are up 9% to €4.64bn (+6% organically). The segment benefited from the high level of activity across the board: in Defence missions systems with the Indian Mirage modernisation programmes and naval activities; Secure Communication and Information Systems segment revenues were boosted by growth in revenues linked to radio communications (France, the Middle East) as well as cyber security; and Land and Air Systems sales were driven by the ramp up of the Air traffic control programme in the UK as well an increased activity in the armaments and protected vehicle sub-segment. The guidance for the 2015 full year is maintained. With order intake expected to exceed that of 2014, sales are expected to grow low single-digit on an organic basis and EBIT to be in the range of €1.13-1.15bn.

Boosted by a sustainable return to growth in Defence & Security?

  • 24 Jul 15

Thales released a set of very strong figures in H1 15 despite the continuing disappointment of the Transport segment and the willingness of management to remain cautious with respect to the second half of the year. This is certainly understandable given that Thales has traditionally been cautious when it comes to guidances over the last couple of years as it had to rebuild its credibility in the markets and the fact that this is Patrice Caine’s first year as Chairman and CEO and he doesn’t need to put himself at risk. The figures highlight a strong growth in order intake, sales as well as EBIT and FCF generation: Order intake grew 19% in H1 to €6.2bn. Sales were up 11% to €6.35bn (6% organically). EBIT up 18% to €473m (11% organically) up from €402m. As expected FCF was negative (typical seasonality) at -€304m but this is a significant improvement on the -€535m in H1 14 mainly thanks to the down payment on the Egypt Rafale contract. Thales has a solid net cash position of €614m which leaves room for M&A in the years to come, especially with certain Airbus assets coming up for grabs. Guidance has been maintained for an increasing order intake, low single-digit organic increase in sales and a progression in EBIT of 15% vs. 2014. The objective of reaching a 9.5-10% group EBIT margin by 2016-17 has also been confirmed. Looking at the various business segments: In Aerospace, the order intake was down 16% to €1.8bn due to lower bookings in Space as H1 14 was a particularly strong quarter for the Space business. However the trend in Avionics and IFEC (in-flight entertainment and connectivity) remains strong. Sales grew by 5% on an organic basis to €2.5bn boosted by increasing avionic sales, a solid performance from the aftermarket and the higher contribution from IFEC. As a result of these good volumes, EBIT came in at a strong €224m with Thales posting an 8.9% margin. Transport was the clear disappointment of this release, despite a very strong order intake of €1.2bn vs. €637m in H1 14. Sales fell by 6% organically to €569m (flat in absolute terms) and EBIT was a negative €39m (-6.9% margin) as the segment's new management team reviewed the contract portfolio and selected to downgrade the margin on a number of significant contracts (c.20% of the current revenues). Transport is now expected to be below breakeven in 2015 and gradually return to a normalised 5-6% EBIT margin by 2018 as these zero-margin contracts gradually come to completion. The Defence & Security segment was the very positive surprise in the quarter with order intake boosted by the Rafale contracts, up 22% on an organic basis to €3.15bn. Sales came in at €3.2bn, up +9% with solid activity thanks to the Indian Mirage upgrade, the strength in naval activity and the start of the defence Air Traffic Management contract in the UK. As a result, EBIT came in at €301m due to the favourable volume impact and good execution. This figure was slightly boosted to the tune of c.€15m by provision reversals on the completion of security contracts which implies that the underlying margin for the segment came in at 8.8% for H1 15 vs. 7.9% in H1 14.