Acquisitive French aerospace and marine group Zodiac is reporting strong preliminary results for 2004, partly driven by purchases.

After a flat 2003, the company declared its intention to grow by acquisition and sealed three deals in the year ending 31 August, contributing to a 6.4% growth in sales to €1.57 billion ($1.93 billion) and an "appreciable" operating profit improvement in the second half.

But the performance was also heavily influenced by organic growth of the aerospace business of 5.5%, and an even stronger recovery in the marine sector, which saw 14.3% growth - 8% organically.

Zodiac's performance depends heavily on exchange rates and it says acquisitions have "offset the impact of the dollar's sharp decline".

Strongest aeronautical growth was in the AeroSafety Systems unit, including the Air Cruisers and Aerazur evacuation slides business, which pushed sales up 10% to €280,000. But the Airline Equipment business dipped 1.5% to €323,000. Aircraft Systems business grew 1.1%.

Zodiac's acquisitions in the year are: Smiths' Icore wiring harness unit, Finnish lavatory and sanitation business EVAC and US on-board oxygen specialist Scott Aviation.


Source: Flight International