PARIS Feb 20 France's Thales said on
Thursday recent currency weakness in Australia, Canada and
Britain weighed on its profit forecast for 2014 but downplayed
concerns over emerging markets.
Europe's largest defence electronics firm is forecasting 5-7
percent growth in 2014 operating profit, but says the target
would be 1.5 percentage points higher without currency factors.
Chief Executive Jean-Pierre Levy said recent falls in the
three key Western markets outside France accounted for the drag
on the company's profit forecast.
Thales officials said they were confident about the
long-term growth of developing markets, where the company is
seeking significant growth to compensate for weakness in
domestic defence markets as it tries to jolt overall revenues
Levy said the company had carried out a thorough internal
study in late 2013 of 10 emerging markets that he did not
identify and found "numerous" opportunities for growth,
particularly in security and public or air transport.
He reiterated that acquisitions are "not at the centre" of
the French group's strategy, but that it would look at any
opportunities that arose.
Emerging markets make up 22 percent of Thales revenues.
(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Andrew Callus)