February 26, 2019 / 6:06 AM / 9 months ago

French group Thales sees more profit growth in 2019 as earnings rise

PARIS, Feb 26 (Reuters) - French defence electronics group Thales forecast higher sales and profits for 2019 as it posted a rise in its 2018 earnings.

Thales’ 2018 earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) rose 23 percent from a year ago to 1.685 billion euros ($1.9 billion), while sales rose 4.1 percent to 15.86 billion euros.

For 2019, Thales forecast EBIT between 1.78-1.8 billion euros.

The group - which provides military radar, civil air traffic control systems and rail infrastructure - is in the process of buying chipmaker Gemalto for 4.8 billion euros to become a leading player in digital security.

Thales expected to finalise the Gemalto deal in March.

“The integration of Gemalto, which we have been actively preparing for over a year, will in the coming weeks consolidate our position as a global leader in digital security,” said Thales chairman and chief executive Patrice Caine.

“In an increasingly digital world, Thales’ business model - both robust and balanced - delivers value more than ever,” he added in a statement.

$1 = 0.8806 euros Reporting by Benjamin Mallet; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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