UPDATE 1-Meggitt profit beats forecasts on civil aero growth

Tue Aug 6, 2013 2:34am EDT

LONDON Aug 6 (Reuters) - British aircraft parts supplier Meggitt posted a forecast beating 7 percent rise in first half profit, underpinned by the ramp-up of civil aerospace programmes and a recovery in aftermarket sales.

The FTSE-100 firm, which supplies flight displays and wheels to Airbus and Boeing, on Tuesday reported a pretax profit of 182 million pounds ($279 million) in the six months to the end of June, ahead of the average analyst forecast of 173 million pounds, according to Thomson Reuters data.

The company, which raised its interim dividend by 10 percent to 3.95 pence, said revenues grew 4 percent to 810 million pounds.

Its civil aerospace business delivered a 15 percent rise in revenues during the period as as rival planemakers Airbus and Boeing ramped-up production to record levels.

Global airlines will buy $3.5 trillion of aircraft over the next 20 years to meet demand for travel to and from emerging markets and renew ageing fleets with more fuel-efficient planes, according to the world's two biggest planemakers, helping suppliers such as Meggitt.

"Deliveries of large jets by Airbus and Boeing are underpinned by a firm order backlog stretching out for a number of years, which gives us confidence in the continued growth outlook for (civil aero) equipment," said chief excecutive Stephen Young.

"Deliveries are expected to continue to grow strongly for the remainder of 2013 and 2014, trending upwards over the medium term."

Meggitt, which also announced new contract wins on Sikorsky helicopters and Irkut jets, said it expects to make further good progress in 2013, delivering mid-single-digit revenue growth.

Revenues at its military unit were down 1 percent due to the impact of defence spending cuts, especially in the U.S.

Rival plane parts maker GKN last week posted a better-than-expected 5 percent rise in first-half profit, led by a strong performance from the group's expanding aerospace business.

Shares in Meggitt, which have risen 17 percent so far this year, closed at 554.5 pence on Monday, valuing the group at around 4.4 billion pounds.

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