June 6, 2018 / 4:20 AM / in 6 months

French group Thales targets more sales and profit growth for 2018-2021

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

PARIS (Reuters) - French defense electronics group Thales (TCFP.PA) set out targets for further sales and profit growth over the 2018-2021 period, and added it would increase spending on research as part of its plans to boost earnings and improve its business.

Its targets, outlined at a capital markets day for investors, entailed average organic sales growth of 3-5 percent over 2018-2021.

Thales also targeted an EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin of 11-11.5 percent by 2021, up from its current margin targets of 9.5-10 percent.

The company also expected self-funded investments on research and development (R&D) to reach 1 billion euros ($1.2 billion) by 2021, up by 25-30 percent compared to 2017.

Thales added its takeover of digital security group Gemalto (GTO.AS) would also boost its earnings and dividend growth.

“Combined with our unique position, associating world class technology leadership and deep domain knowledge of our five end markets, these actions will allow us to grow profitably and faster than the market, in a sustainable way,” said Thales chairman and chief executive Patrice Caine.

“In a few months, the Gemalto acquisition, which we expect to complete in the second half of this year, will further accelerate this strategy, and enable us to build a global leader in digital security,”added Caine.

Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Additional reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta

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