PARIS – Thales posted a 32% rise in operating income and record cashflow, as Europe’s largest defence electronics company swung back into the black in its aerospace business and saw higher margins in digital security.
The French company said its 2021 operating profit rose to 1.649 billion euros ($1.83 billion), on sales of 16.2 billion, up 5.3%.
New orders of 19.9 billion euros outstripped sales and Thales said it expected this to happen again in 2022.
Targets for this year also include a further rise in sales to 16.6-17.2 billion euros and a higher operating margin of 10.8-11.1% compared with 10.2% in 2021.
Chief Executive Patrice Caine told reporters the company remained interested in bolt-on acquisitions across its three core areas of aerospace, defence & security, and digital identity & security.
In practice, this means potential deals worth up to 500 million euros in enterprise value, he said.
Thales said last month it was potentially interested in acquiring any cybersecurity asset that could be for sale.
Thales reported free cashflow of 2.515 billion euros in 2021 and raised its forecast to 5.5 billion euros for 2021-23. It also raised its dividend 45% to 2.5 euros a share.
($1 = 0.9007 euros)