PARIS (Reuters) - French wireless devices specialist Parrot <PARRO.PA> has now the financial leeway to make small-scale acquisitions and is looking for opportunities, its finance director told Reuters.
Parrot, founded in 1994, designs hands-free phone kits and car stereo devices allowing internet navigation. It branched out last year launching a leisure helicopter drone guided through an iPhone <AAPL.O> application and which sold at around 120.000 units.
"We needed a strong cash base to address risks, but we can say that we have achieved this and, like everyone else, we are looking for acquisition opportunities; we are curious," Gilles Labossiere said in an interview on Tuesday.
"We are not talking of large transactions because we are not a debt-orientated group, but we are looking either at the possibility of strengthening our technologies portfolio or entering a new product," he added.
At the end of 2010, Parrot had almost 91 million euros ($126.6 million) in cash of which 30 million to 40 million could be used for external growth, Labossiere said.
Parrot, which makes a third of its sales with car manufacturers, expects its market share in the automotive business to grow this year thanks to new contracts expected with carmakers from Japan and the United States, Labossiere said.
The CFO said that R&D spending, which amounted to 28.7 million euros last year, would rise 4 million to 5 million euros this year and that the group aimed for total sales of the helicopter drone games -- so-called quadricopter AR.Drones -- of 500,000 to 1 million units.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont and Florent Le Quintrec; Editing by Caroline Jacobs and Jon Loades-Carter)