August 13, 2008 / 2:35 PM / in 9 years

CAE profit jumps on strong flight simulator demand

TORONTO (Reuters) - CAE Inc (CAE.TO) CGT.N said on Wednesday its quarterly profit rose 21 percent as revenue grew along with demand for its flight simulator and training services.

CAE said net profit was C$46.1 million ($43.2 million), or 18 Canadian cents a share, up from C$38.7 million, or 15 Canadian cents a share, in the same period the year before.

Analysts had expected a profit of 18 Canadian cents a share before exceptions, according to Reuters Estimates.

Earnings from continuing operations rose 21 percent to C$47 million.

CAE, which sells to both civil and military aviation markets, said revenue rose 9 percent to C$392.1 million.

It said it was awarded C$138.2 million in military contracts in the quarter. Also on Wednesday, CAE announced a series of military contracts worth about C$106 million.

The Montreal-based company has been expanding its more stable military business to reduce its reliance on the less predictable commercial flight simulator market. The company has also been expanding geographically.

CAE said the majority of its revenue now comes from military training services, giving it a buffer against the ups and downs of the civil market.

“Having taken lessons from the past, we made diversification a priority and remain disciplined in our execution,” Chief Executive Robert Brown said in a conference call.

“The strategic direction we have chosen has effectively prepared CAE for conditions like the present when not all segments of the market and not all regions of the world are firing on all cylinders.”

In the civil segment, CAE won orders for 13 full-flight simulators and continues to expect a total of about 34 orders for the year.

“We continue to believe that this guidance is conservative in light of the current market environment and given the 14 full-flight simulator orders that CAE has received so far this fiscal year,” Benoit Poirier, an analyst with Desjardins Securities, wrote in a research note.

Total backlog was C$2.8 billion at the end of the quarter.

Shares of CAE were down 27 Canadian cents, or 2.4 percent, at C$10.87 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Wednesday afternoon.

($1=$1.06 Canadian)

Reporting by John McCrank and Leah Schnurr; editing by Rob Wilson

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