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French group Thales' Q1 sales rise 4%, confirms forecasts

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FILE PHOTO: FILE PHOTO: The logo of French defence and electronics group Thales is seen at the company's headquarters in Merignac near Bordeaux
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PARIS (Reuters) - France's Thales reaffirmed full-year financial forecasts as the defence and aerospace company posted a 4.4% increase in first-quarter sales to 3.73 billion euros ($3.9 billion).

Europe's largest arms electronics provider, which also makes civil aircraft parts and digital security systems, reported a 4% decline in new orders to 3.03 billion euros.

The French company plans to book its share of a large order from the United Arab Emirates for 80 French Rafale fighters, for which it builds the radar, in the second quarter.

"Despite supply chain tensions and uncertainties about the strength of air traffic recovery, we are confirming all our financial targets for 2022," Chief Executive Patrice Caine said in a statement.

Thales is forecasting a book-to-bill ratio above 1, meaning it expects full-year orders to come in above sales that it estimates at 16.6-17.2 billion euros. It expects a higher operating margin of 10.8-11.1%.

Chief Financial Officer Pascal Bouchiat told reporters the company is not significantly exposed to inflation in energy prices, but is seeing higher recruitment costs as wages rise.

($1 = 0.9511 euros)

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Sudip Kar-Gupta)

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