By Olivia Bugault
Thales SA said Thursday that sales and profit fell in 2020 amid the coronavirus pandemic but that it expects improvements in 2021 despite continuing uncertainties.
The French aerospace-and-defense company posted a net profit of 483 million euros ($582.6 million), down 57% from 2019, while earnings before interest and taxes fell 35% organically to EUR1.35 billion.
Sales dropped to EUR16.99 billion from EUR18.4 billion. Organically, sales fell 10%, mainly due to a collapse in demand in civil aeronautics, an industry that was particularly hard hit by the pandemic. The company's defense-and-security segment fared much better, however, posting a 1.8% organic decline in sales compared with 2019.
The company proposed a dividend of EUR1.76 a share for 2020.
Looking to 2021, Thales has set a sales target of between EUR17.1 billion and EUR17.9 billion, higher than in 2020. The company's outlook is based on the assumption that there won't be any major economic and health disruptions this year, but warned that "the public health and macro-economic context remains highly uncertain in the short term and could affect the pace of air traffic recovery and corporate investment plans."
Thales forecasts an EBIT margin of between 9.5% and 10% for this year, up 150-200 basis points from 2020, it said.
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