July 30, 2019 / 4:30 PM / 22 days ago

UPDATE 1-Italy's Leonardo confirms 2019 outlook as orders rise 34%

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MILAN, July 30 (Reuters) - Italian defence group Leonardo confirmed its full year guidance on Tuesday as it reported a 34% increase in orders to 6.1 billion euros ($6.8 billion) in the first half.

“New orders increased significantly driven by the Defence Electronics & Security (division), which benefited from important new orders in the European area and at (Leonardo U.S. unit) DRS, and by helicopters,” said the Rome-based group.

Leonardo expects new orders to reach 12.5-13.5 billion euros over the year as a whole thanks to the finalisation of major export contracts.

Net profit more than tripled to 349 million euros compared with 106 million euros in the same period last year, when the company posted significant charges for the early retirement of part of its workforce.

In addition, the group was able in the first half to release part of a provision it had set aside as a guarantee for the sale of transportation business AnsaldoBreda.

In the period revenue rose 7% to 5.96 billion euros and Leonardo forecast full-year revenue to came in the range of 12.5-13 billion euros.

Group net debt at the end of June was 4.1 billion euros, up from 2.35 billion euros last year, reflecting the impact of new accounting standard IFRS16, seasonality and the acquisition of Vitrociset, an Italian business specialising in secure communications. ($1 = 0.8972 euros) (Reporting by Francesca Landini; editing by Keith Weir)

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