• October-December sales rise 7%, led by deliveries in Europe
  • Company repeats medium term outlook for sales and margin gains

Alstom SA, the French company that sold most of its energy assets to General Electric Co. last November to refocus on rail, said orders climbed 46 percent in the three months through December after project wins in markets from Belgium to Panama.

New contracts booked in the fiscal third quarter amounted to 2.36 billion euros ($2.56 billion), up from 1.62 billion euros a year earlier, the company based in Saint-Ouen near Paris said Thursday in a statement. Sales in the period climbed 7 percent to 1.61 billion euros.

“Alstom achieved again a sound commercial performance,” Chief Executive Officer Patrick Kron said in the statement. “The pipeline remains active and includes major projects.”

Alstom is using part of the proceeds of the sale of energy assets to GE to buy back 3.2 billion euros of its shares. The French company, which bought GE’s rail-signaling unit for 700 million euros and increased its stake in Russia’s Transmashholding to 33 percent late last year, repeated that for the medium term, sales are expected to grow at more than 5 percent per year organically and the operating margin should gradually improve within the 5 percent to 7 percent range.

Alstom said its backlog held at 28.7 billion euros at the end of December, representing more than four years of sales. On Nov. 30, it signed a 3.5 billion-euro contract to supply Indian Railways with 800 electric locomotives that will be booked in 2016, on top of a 200 million-euro signaling contract booked in the past quarter.

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