Thales Adds Medical Imaging Business to Potential Sales List

July 25 (Bloomberg) -- Thales SA, the French defense and aerospace supplier, may sell its medical imaging business as part of a wider round of divestitures.

A review of that unit’s future is under way, Chief Financial Officer Pascal Bouchiat said today. Thales also is studying the sale of its 49 percent share in the Diehl Aircabin joint venture that supplies airliner equipment, and the 33 percent stake in Italian defense-electronics maker Elettronica.

“Improving profitability means also continuing to optimize the overall portfolio,” Bouchiat said in a conference call with analysts.

The company is 2 1/2 years into a cost-cutting plan that includes operational improvements as well as asset sales, and said two-thirds of its planned actions will be done in 2012. Neuilly-Sur-Seine, France-based Thales said in April it was selling its civil fixed-wing aircraft simulation business to L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.

Thales confirmed its full-year forecast for an earnings margin before interest and taxes of 6 percent, with a book-to-bill ratio slightly below one. First-half net income rose 1.2 percent to 175 million euros ($212 million) from a year earlier. Six-month order intake climbed 16 percent to 6.1 billion euros.

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