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Safran Sales Jump 13.2% on Record Engine Orders

French conglomerate Safran sought to allay concerns about its exposure to the U.S. dollar on Tuesday as it reported 2007 revenues topping 12 billion euros, about in line with market expectations.

The aero engine and telecoms equipment maker, born of a merger between state and private concerns in 2004, has been singled out as one of the companies in its sector most at risk from the dollar, but has argued the risk is overstated.

Safran said in a revenue statement that its "dollar exposure is now fully hedged for 2008".

The company had ended 2006 with an overall dollar exposure close to $4 billion. It did not say what the corresponding total figure was following the 2008 hedging operation.

Safran builds engines for Boeing and Airbus passenger jets, with both the planes and their engines marketed in dollars.

The group also produces mainly loss-making consumer telecoms equipment such as handsets and fax machines and is in the process of selling its broadband communications activities.

Safran said sales rose 5.9 percent to 12.003 billion euros compared with a market consensus forecast for 2007 turnover of of 11.96 billion euros, according to Reuters Estimates.

Safran had targeted a rise of around 5 percent in sales.

Key aerospace propulsion revenues rose 16.7 percent to 5.92 billion euros and aircraft equipment, such as landing gear and wheels, rose 2.2 percent to 2.7 billion euros. Defense security sales rose 7.1 percent to 1.548 billion euros.

Safran's mobile communications activities, inherited from the merger between state engine maker Snecma and handsets maker Sagem, saw turnover fall by 31.5 percent to 656 million euros.

Sales at the soon-to-be-sold broadband unit fell 2.7 percent to 1.176 billion euros.

Safran said in October it had received a 383 million euro offer from U.S private equity firm Gores Group for its Sagem Communications arm, part of the overall Communications and which offers broadband and digital TV set-top boxes.

It added that a deal should be finalized in coming months.

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