The Astrium space division of European aerospace giant EADS increased revenue

by 10.5 percent in 2007 and pretax profit by 34 percent following

continued growth of the Astrium Services business for

military users and increased production of the Ariane 5 rocket, EADS announced March 11.

In presentations to journalists and investors, EADS Chief Executive Louis Gallois

said that while the Astrium Services division and Astrium’s rocket and missile business showed profit growth, Astrium Satellites “still has some room for improvement.”

EvertDudok, chief executive of Astrium Satellites, has said in recent weeks that the company will be very selective in deciding which contracts to bid on in 2008.

Space Transportation is prime contractor for Europe’s heavy-lift Ariane 5 rocket, which conducted a record six launches in 2007. The Arianespace consortium, which markets and operates the vehicle, is planning to increase its launch capacity to eight per year in the next couple of years.

A preliminary order for 35 Ariane 5 rockets was

booked in 2007



, with a final contract expected this year.

The Space Transportation division is also prime contractor for the French Defense Ministry’s M51 ballistic missile, which successfully conducted a second test flight in 2007.

The Space Transportation division accounted for 48 percent of Astrium’s total 2007 revenue

of 3.55 billion euros ($5.45

billion) in 2007, a 10.5 percent increase over the previous year. Earnings before interest and taxes for all three Astrium business divisions totaled 174 million euros – 4.9 percent of revenue

– for a 34 percent increase over 2006.

Astrium Satellites remained the second-largest of the three space divisions in 2007, accounting for 37 percent of revenue

. The company booked orders for eight telecommunications satellites in 2007 either as sole prime contractor or co-prime with competitor ThalesAlenia Space of France and Italy.

The Astrium Services division was responsible for 15 percent of the revenue

but a higher percentage of the profit, EADS Chief Financial Officer Hans Peter Ring said in a March 11 conference call with investors.

Astrium Services is under a long-term contract to the British Defence Ministry and to the NATO alliance to provide satellite telecommunications services. In 2007, the company launched the first two Skynet 5 military communications satellites.