March 20, 2012 / 3:22 PM / 6 years ago

MBDA sees Asia missile demand sustaining orders

PARIS, March 20 (Reuters) - European missile maker MBDA said it expected orders well above 3 billion euros ($4 billion) this year, as strong Asian demand offsets a European military spending slowdown.

A growing share of sales will come from export contracts, including a 900 million euro deal to re-arm Indian fighter jets as Europe’s outlook worsens, MBDA said on Tuesday as it published 2011 results.

“Strong pressure on European budgets, particularly defence, can only increase in coming months,” Chief Executive Antoine Bouvier said.

Overall sales rose 5 percent last year to 3 billion euros, MBDA said. The company predicts it will rely on exports for 50 percent of revenue in 2020, compared with 30 percent last year.

MBDA missiles equip fighter planes including Dassault Aviation’s Rafale, the Eurofighter consortium’s Typhoon and the Gripen produced by Sweden’s Saab.

The Indian contract, signed in January, sees the company supply new missiles for the country’s existing Dassault Mirage 2000 fleet, acquired in the 1980s and 1990s.

MBDA, in which BAE Systems and European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co each hold a 37.5 percent stake, with Italy’s Finmeccanica owning the remainder, commands a 20-25 percent share of the global missile market, worth an estimated 12 billion euros last year.

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