Zodiac Aerospace annual profit pips expectations

PARIS Wed Nov 21, 2012 1:34am EST

PARIS Nov 21 (Reuters) - Zodiac Aerospace reported slightly higher-than-expected annual profits buoyed by acquisitions and internal growth on Wednesday and predicted further underlying growth in its 2012/13 financial year.

The French aircraft parts maker, which supplies both Airbus and Boeing, said operating income rose 26 percent to 486 million euros ($622 million) for a steady margin of 14.1 percent on already reported sales of 3.441 billion.

Net attributable income for the year to end-August rose 34 percent to 319 million euros, prompting the group to hike its dividend by 17 percent to 1.4 euros a share.

Analysts were on average expecting operating profit of 481 million euros and net income of 314 million, according to data compiled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company said the aerospace industry remained buoyant on the back of traffic growth averaging 5 percent a year and rising deliveries of commercial aircraft.

"In these conditions, Zodiac Aerospace expects organic growth again in the new fiscal year, on a high comparison basis," the company said in a statement.

Zodiac's 2011/12 revenue rose 26 percent on a reported basis and 14.4 percent on a like-for-like or organic basis.

It announced a tentative deal to buy U.S. company IMS, which specializes in "seat-centric in-flight entertainment" systems, for an undisclosed sum after buying Heath Tecna and Contour earlier in the financial year.

Zodiac shares closed on Tuesday at 79.66 euros, valuing the Paris-based company at 4.5 billion euros.

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