MADRID Jan 20 Sales at Spain's Indra (IDR.MC) will grow 5-7
percent this year, well down on growth of 9.8 percent in 2008, a target the
technology specialist confirmed it had hit.
However Indra, one of the world's biggest makers of air traffic control
systems, said it aimed to preserve 2008 levels of profitability through strict
cost controls and by optimising its operating processes.
Indra said in November that 2008 sales for the full year would increase 9.8
percent, or around 2.38 billion euros ($3.09 billion) -- and on Tuesday said it
had achieved that aim.
Strong international sales had played a key role in growing sales and would
again be its main driver, with double digit growth both in sales and in new
contracts, it said.
The Madrid-based firm is seen by analysts as a good defensive pick in the
downturn because of its strong order book with governments as well as being
Indra, which also develops flight simulators, radar systems and ballot
machines, said it would roll forward a 2008 objective to preserve a margin of
11.3 and 11.5 percent on core earnings (EBIT).
"We foresee an more negative economic and sector climate in 2009 than last
year," the firm said in a statement.
"Despite this environment, Indra has the potential to continue growing and
to continue progressing better than the rest of its sector, and to maintain its
current operating profitability."
Indra said new contracts would rise faster than sales, but it did not give a
target. In 2008 it successfully targetted a 10.5 percent rise in new contracts
it said. That equates to some 2.58 billion euros in new contracts.
Indra posted a 31 percent rise in nine-month net profit in November.
(Reporting by Ben Harding; Editing by Hans Peters)