Defense, Services Lines Drive Growth at Astrium

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PARIS — Europe’s Astrium space hardware and services provider on July 30 reported higher pretax profit on revenue that also increased after one-time gains are eliminated, saying its defense and services businesses led the way.

The Astrium Services division, which has multiyear telecommunications contracts with NATO and the British and German defense forces, continued to gird the company’s profit margins, as it has done for the past couple of years, and also reported double-digit revenue growth.

Astrium, a division of Europe’s EADS aerospace conglomerate, reported revenue of 2.11 billion euros ($2.6 billion) for the first six months of 2010, a 4 percent drop from the same period a year earlier. But when a 200 million-euro payment for delayed satellite orbital incentives is removed from the 2009 figures, the division reported an increase of 5.8 percent year on year.

Pretax profit was 5 percent of revenue, up from 4.5 percent a year earlier.

Astrium has three principal divisions. Astrium Space Transportation, which is prime contractor for the Ariane 5 rocket and France’s M-51 strategic missile, accounted for 45 percent of the revenue for the first six months of 2010.

Astrium Satellites, which builds commercial, civil government and military spacecraft, provided 30.8 percent of the revenue, followed by Astrium Services’ 24.2 percent contribution.

Astrium Services, which completed in-orbit delivery of Germany’s two military telecommunications satellites this year, contributed 510 million euros of revenue to Astrium’s results for the six months ending in 2010, up 12 percent over a year earlier.

Astrium Satellites booked orders for two commercial telecommunications and two Earth observation satellites in the first half of 2010. Total orders for the period were 2.7 billion euros. Astrium’s total backlog stood at 15.5 billion euros as of June 30, flat from a year earlier.