July 20, 2018 / 5:08 AM / a year ago

French group Thales posts higher first-half profits, says Gemalto deal on track

FILE PHOTO - The logo of French defence and electronics group Thales is seen at the company's headquarters in Neuilly, near Paris, May 20, 2008. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - French defense electronics group Thales (TCFP.PA) reported higher first-half profits and said its planned 4.8 billion euros ($5.6 billion) takeover of security chipmaker Gemalto GTO.AS was on track.

First-half earnings before interest and tax rose 30 percent from last year to 762 million euros, while sales advanced by 4.7 percent to 7.45 billion euros.

Sources told Reuters on Thursday that Thales’ acquisition of Gemalto faced a full-scale European Union probe.

Nevertheless, Thales said the deal was on track to be completed before the end of the year, once all necessary regulatory authorizations had been sealed.

“The projected acquisition of Gemalto, a booster of this strategy, is proceeding as planned. It should be completed before the end of the year, once we have obtained all the necessary regulatory authorizations,” said Thales chairman and chief executive Patrice Caine.

Thales also confirmed its 2018 financial targets, namely for a 2018 order intake of around 15.5 billion euros and organic sales growth between 4-5 percent compared to 2017.

The French government has a stake of around 26 percent in Thales while Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA) holds 25 percent.

Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta; Editing by Leigh Thomas

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