French Conglomerate Safran Says First-Half Sales Rose 4.7%

French conglomerate Safran said Wednesday first-half revenue rose 4.7 %, as the company benefited from solid growth at its aerospace division.

Sales increased to 5.73 billion euros ($7.83 billion) from 5.48 billion euros a year earlier, beating an average 5.69 billion euros forecast by four analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires.

Revenue at the aerospace propulsion division climbed 16% to 2.78 billion euros ($3.8 billion).

"The order volume for the first half of the year is already greater than the largest number of deliveries ever recorded during a year," Safran said in a statement.

Safran's aircraft equipment division reported a 5.5% rise in sales to 1.37 billion euros ($1.87 billion). The division will benefit from significant orders made by Boeing and Airbus, Safran said.

Safran's communications division saw revenue fall more than 22% to 838 million euros ($1.14 billion), hurt by a drop in sales at its struggling mobile-phone unit.

Kepler Equities analyst Milene Kerner said breaking even in the division in 2007 looks "challenging."

Sales in the defense security division gained 7.5% to 747 million euros ($1020.85 million), including the acquisition of the land and naval optronics business of Airbus parent European Aeronautics Defence & Space.

Safran was formed in 2005 by the merger of French state-owned jet-engine maker Snecma and electronics and communications company Sagem.

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