PARIS, Oct 19 (Reuters) - French aerospace and defence technology group Thales reported a dip in third-quarter sales compared to a year earlier, yet nevertheless kept its financial goals due to positive market trends and solid orders.
Sales for the third quarter ending September stood at 3.1 billion euros ($3.7 billion), down 2.9 percent from a year earlier, when its 2016 third quarter performance had been boosted by a bumper Indian Rafale plane deal.
"Thales should continue to benefit from positive trends in most of its markets. Although below the highs recorded in 2015 and 2016, the order intake in 2017 should remain brisk, at around 14 billion euros," Thales said in a statement.
Thales added it was sticking to its mid-term targets of mid-single digit organic sales growth on average in the 2016-2018 period, and an EBIT (earnings before interest and tax) margin of between 9.5-10 percent in 2017/2018.
($1 = 0.8472 euros) (Reporting by Cyril Altmeyer; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)