PARIS, April 23 (Reuters) - Zodiac Aerospace posted higher underlying profit and revenue in its fiscal first half and said it would continue looking for acquisitions as the aerospace industry gears up for record production to meet growth in passenger traffic.
The French aerospace contractor, which supplies seats and aircraft systems to both Airbus and Boeing, said revenue rose 9.2 percent to 1.998 billion euros ($2.76 billion) but that a rise in the value of the euro trimmed this gain by 3.1 percentage points.
Overall, including acquisitions and taking out currency swings, revenue grew 7.8 percent on a like-for-like basis, Zodiac said on Wednesday.
Current operating income rose 7.1 percent to 255.3 million euros in the first half of the financial year, which runs from September to August, the company said in a statement. On a comparable basis it rose 8.9 percent, led by safety systems.
But production problems in the premium galleys in Germany saw operating profit at the aircraft interiors division fall 2.9 percent to 134 million euros.
“World growth should continue to support passenger traffic and, consequently, growth in the group’s business,” Zodiac said. “In this context, Zodiac Aerospace anticipates a further year of organic growth in 2013/14.”
However, it said it remained exposed to exchange-rate risks and had not implemented new currency hedges since November.
Zodiac, which made two acquisitions in aircraft systems in the first half and repelled an approach from France’s Safran some three years ago, said it would pursue external growth after boosting debt capacity by 1.7 billion euros in March. ($1 = 0.7248 Euros) (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer and Tim Hepher; Editing by James Regan)