* Shrinking U.S., Europe defence budgets weigh on results
* Q1 EBITA 153 mln euros, vs analyst estimate 170 mln euros
* Helicopters, rail lift orders 11 pct to 2.89 bln euros
(Adds details on results)
MILAN, May 6 Italian aerospace and defence group
Finmeccanica said on Tuesday first-quarter core earnings fell
almost 5 percent to miss analyst expectations, hit by shrinking
defence budgets in U.S. and Europe.
Finmeccanica, which is carrying out a restructuring to cut
its heavy debt burden and is seeking to expand outside its main
Italian, British and U.S. markets, said quarterly orders rose 11
percent to 2.896 billion euros ($4.04 billion) mainly thanks to
its helicopters business.
In a statement the state-controlled group said core
earnings, or before interest, tax and amortisation (EBITA), fell
to 153 million euros, missing an analyst average estimate of 170
million euros. Revenues fell 4.9 percent to 2.946 billion euros.
The state-owned group confirmed targets set in March for the
whole year including EBITA rising to 930-980 million euros from
878 million euros in 2013 and revenues falling to 13-13.5
billion euros from 13.7 billion euros.
This is the last set of results under CEO Alessandro Pansa,
who will hand over the reins of scandal-hit group to Mauro
Moretti, head of Italy's state railways group and former trade
union leader, later in May.
Moretti faces the challenges of completing Finmeccanica's
restructuring ahead of a possible consolidation in the defence
industry and investors are keen to know if he will backtrack on
plans to sell its rail assets.
In the statement, Finmeccanica said its rail units
AnsaldoBreda and Ansaldo STS, which Pansa tried to
sell, partly offset the decline in core earnings and contributed
to the increase in new orders.
The company holds a conference call at 0700 GMT on
($1 = 0.7177 Euros)
(Reporting by Danilo Masoni; Editing by Lisa Jucca)