UPDATE 1-Control room, aircraft simulator displays lift Barco Q3
* Barco Q3 sales 285 mln euros vs poll average 272 mln euros
* Says operating and core profit continued to grow
* Shares rise 4 pct (Adds detail, analyst quotes)
BRUSSELS, Oct 24 (Reuters) - Belgium's Barco reported a larger than expected 13 percent increase in net sales on Wednesday, driven by increased demand for its visual displays for control rooms and aircraft simulators.
Barco shares were up 4.1 percent at 52.57 euros at 1230 GMT, having earlier hit a two-week high, making them among the strongest on Euronext Brussels.
The company, whose displays are also used for sports stadiums scoreboards and medical imaging systems, said sales rose to 285 million euros ($370 million), compared with the average of 272 million euros in a Reuters poll of banks and brokerages.
Barco said it had an order book of 503.3 million euros, a rise of 0.4 percent from the end of September 2011, and said that its operating profit and core earnings had increased year-on-year.
Analysts said sales had been impressive at Barco's entertainment division, which includes digital cinema projectors, the key growth engine for the past two years.
There had been some concerns that projector sales had hit a peak and were set to decline.
"The fact that entertainment sales are still growing is positive and should reassure investors that the slowing digital cinema conversion rate can be compensated by their broadened product base," ING's Emmanuel Carlier said in a note.
Barco registered 33.7 percent growth for its control room and simulation products and 28.5 percent for defence and aerospace.
Bank Degroof called Barco's sales "more than reassuring," and raised its target price to 62 euros from 60 per share. ($1 = 0.7714 euros) (Reporting By Ethan Bilby; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)
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