UPDATE 1-Meggitt profit boosted by demand for new planes

Tue Aug 7, 2012 2:57am EDT

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LONDON, Aug 7 (Reuters) - British aircraft parts supplier Meggitt posted a 15 percent rise in first-half profit, led by strong demand for new more fuel-efficient planes and a robust performance from its military business.

The company, which supplies flight displays and wheels to planemakers Airbus and Boeing, on Tuesday reported an underlying pretax profit of 168.5 million pounds ($263.1 million) on sales 19 percent higher at 776 million pounds.

The FTSE 100 group increased the interim dividend by 12.5 percent to 3.60 pence per share and said it was confident on its prospcts, despite uncertain defence markets.

"Airbus and Boeing have strong order books and look well set for the next three or four years, which is obviously good for us," Meggitt's chief executive Terry Twigger told Reuters.

"We have no problems meeting that demand but the military outlook will be murky until the U.S. presidential elections are done."

Suppliers to the civil aerospace sector have been boosted by order book growth at Airbus and Boeing, who expect combined deliveries for 2012 to be well ahead of last year.

The world's top two planemakers are ramping up output and are targeting more than 1,100 deliveries this year, in response to growing demand from airlines for new fuel-efficient planes.

Meggitt's rivals GKN and Senior last month posted strong profit growth, boosted by an uplift in orders at their aerospace businesses.

Shares in Meggitt, which have fallen 5 percent in the last three months, closed at 396 pence on Monday, valuing the company at around 3.05 billion pounds.

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