Defence group BAE Systems posted lower half-year sales and profits as it downplayed talk that it could revive its failed merger with the former EADS group now known as Airbus.
BAE, which builds submarines, warships and parts for the Eurofighter Typhoon and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, reported a 10.6% drop in sales to £7.6bn from £8.5bn in the six months to 30 June and said underlying pre-tax earnings came in 7.5% lower at £802m versus £867m last time.
The group expects sales to be weighted towards the second half of 2014, including the timing of Typhoon aircraft deliveries.
Chief executive Ian King said BAE and other European defence groups, including potentially Airbus, could "unite around" a joint programme for unmanned combat aircraft.
He added that the group's civil avionics business was doing well with involvement in programmes such as Boeing's 777X.
But he brushed off rumours at this month's Farnborough Air Show that the planned merger with Airbus could be back on the table.
There was speculation that the deal, which collapsed due to political wrangling among Europe's governments, could be revived now that the German elections are over, relieving pressure on German Chancellor Angela Merkel over the potential job implications of a deal.
But King said it needed two parties to take part, implying that while BAE may still be interested, Airbus may not be so keen. BAE investors and the UK government backed the original merger plan but some EADS investors voiced disquiet.
He also said the defence market was now benefiting from more certainty around military budgets in the US and UK.
"Look at our performance," he told journalists in a conference call.
BAE said it continued to anticipate reported earnings per share to be some 5% to 10% lower than in 2013 as expected.
But it said foreign exchange
translation, assuming an average $1.70 exchange rate, would hit full year earnings per share by about 1p compared to previous guidance.
Property group Countrywide reported a surge in first half profit as the UK housing market continued to grow at a rapid pace.
Pre-tax profit in the six months ended June 30th came to £37.1m, compared to £12.3m a year earlier.
Total income jumped to £334.5m from £258.8m, with increased business activity across all divisions of the group.
During the period the company completed 16 lettings acquisitions, further diversifying revenue streams.
The firm, which launched an initial public offering in March 2013, said it was on track to achieve 2014 profit expectations and increase cash returns to shareholders.
"The UK housing market continues to grow at a measured pace, with recovery in both transaction volumes and house prices underpinning the strong momentum we are experiencing across all our divisions," said interim chairman David Watson.
"As a result, we are confident that Countrywide will deliver its best ever group performance this year.
"I am also pleased that, as anticipated at the time of the IPO, the group has significantly increased the immediate level of cash returns to our shareholders who recognise and support our consistent strategy. In addition, we have plans for further increased returns in coming years."