PARIS, May 3 (Reuters) - France's Thales posted a 7.2 percent underlying rise in first-quarter sales on Thursday as growth in defence and transport systems offset a slight dip in aerospace revenues.
Confirming targets for the full year, Europe's largest defence electronics group said revenues reached 3.412 billion euros ($4.1 billion), with the defence division posting like-for-like growth of 9.5 percent led by radars and systems such as cybersecurity.
Aerospace sales dipped 0.3 percent from the first quarter of last year, when in-flight entertainment and space revenues had been particularly strong, Thales added in a statement.
The order intake, reflecting additions to future business, grew 39 percent on a comparable basis to 3.032 billion euros, led by a major air traffic management deal in Australia, French fighter sales to Qatar and a rail signalling contract in Poland.
New aerospace orders, down 16 percent, also suffered from a challenging comparison to the same quarter of 2017 when Thales had won a telecommunications satellite deal from Russia.
For 2018, Thales sees an order intake of around 15.5 billion euros, marked by a recovery in defence spending and a slowdown in the telecom satellite market.
It expects 4-5 percent higher underlying aerospace sales and a group operating profit of 1.62-1.66 billion euros, up 19 to 22 percent from a restated 2017 level.
Thales said it expects to exceed its mid-term objectives which anticipate 2016-2018 organic sales growth above 5 percent and a 2018 operating margin that should exceed a range of 9.5-10 percent originally set out for the 2017-2018 period.
$1 = 0.8344 euros Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer and Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta