Cobham orders hit by row in US

BRITISH defence technology group Cobham said US budget disputes and the impending presidential election have hit order books, as the company cut its earnings forecast.

Shares fell six per cent on the news, as Cobham reported a five per cent drop in revenue to £892m and a 10 per cent fall in profits to £90m in the first half of the year.

The company aims to boost its commercial aviation business -- which accounts for 32 per cent of revenues -- to counter uncertainty over defence spending in both the US and in cash-strapped European countries, said chief executive Bob Murphy, who joined from BAE two months ago.

“The outlook for the US defence and security market for the end of 2012 and 2013 is particularly uncertain due to the upcoming US elections and the lack of political consensus on US government budgets,” Murphy added.