- Defence services group Ultra Electronics said the value of its order book in the first quarter had improved to £933m, up from £914m at the start of the year, despite a foreign exchange headwind.

The company said it had also purchased £41.1m of its own shares as part of a buyback announced on 5 March.

'As previously disclosed, the board's expectations remain for the group to make modest progress in underlying revenue and operating profit at constant currencies in 2018 after investing for the future through increased R&D and capital expenditure,' the company said.

'As guided, the group's trading and cash performance will be more heavily weighted to the second half of the year.'

Conditions in key markets had remained steady since a 5 March update, Ultra said.

'A continuing resolution to US federal funding was in place for most of the first quarter of the year until the US budget was signed on 23 March, it noted.

Ultra said it would announce its interim results on 6 August.

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