* Posts 2017/18 net profit of 39.7 mln eur
* Aims to increase earnings substantially in 2018/19
* Targets single-digit percentage increase in sales (Adds detail, background)
VIENNA, May 16 (Reuters) - Austria-based aeroplane parts maker FACC said on Wednesday it expects to substantially improve earnings in its current business year by increasing automation and by outsourcing production of some components.
The Chinese-owned company, which supplies the world’s leading planemakers, more than doubled its net profit to 39.7 million euros ($47 million) in the year to end-February from 15.2 million the previous year.
“The initiatives to increase the level of automation and productivity and to outsource the production of simple composite parts to the supply chain will continue (in 2018/19),” FACC said in its annual report. “This will lead to a substantial improvement in earnings.”
Last year’s earnings increase was helped by strong demand for the components it produces for Airbus’s A320 aircraft family, for the A350 and for Boeing’s 787, it said.
FACC said it is targeting a single-digit percentage increase in 2018/19 sales compared with last year’s 750.7 million euros, and confirmed its 1 billion euro sales goal for the 2020/21 business year.
The group expects new generations of short-haul aircraft to hit the market between 2022 and 2025, and aims to supply large manufacturers with lightweight surface parts for these planes, chief executive Robert Machtlinger said in March.
FACC is also working on developing surfaces able to adjust to changing conditions, such as pressure and suction in different phases of a flight, to meet future needs.
FACC shares were trading about 1 percent lower at 20.85 euros in a flat market at 0800 GMT.
The stock, which joined Austria’s blue chip index ATX in March, has gained more than 20 percent since the beginning of the year. The shares traded at around 7 euros a year ago.
FACC was acquired by a unit of Chinese state-owned Aviation Industry Corporation of China in 2009. ($1 = 0.8454 euros) (Reporting by Kirsti Knolle, editing by Louise Heavens and Adrian Croft)