BAE Systems confident for year ahead with 'strong' performance
One of Lancashire's biggest employers said it was on track to hit sales and revenue targets for the year thanks to growing defence budgets world-wide.
BAE Systems which has major aerospace sites at Warton and Samlesbury, as well as the submarines production base in Barrow, said in a trading update to the stock exchange that its air, maritime, electronic systems and intelligence and security divisions were performing strongly.
Despite the economic uncertainty produced by the global pandemic, the company said the success of the vaccination programme in its major markets and its good operational performance was producing confidence in the full year performance.
It said the work it already has on order, together with the pipeline of opportunities across all sectors remaining strong, supported its confidence.
The publication of the Defence Command Paper, it said was positive for the company with renewed commitments to our major long-term programmes in complex warship, submarine and combat aircraft design and build.
It said this allowed for long-term investment in these areas, as well as strong support for cyber technology.
In the US, new president Biden's budget request for fiscal year 2022 is expected to include top line defence funding of $715bn, compared to $704bn in the current fiscal year.
It added that the opportunity pipeline was positive with domestic, export and collaboration opportunities identified, and the company has capabilities to support its UK customer in its space ambitions and that its Applied Intelligence had a good start to the year with improved performance together with realised benefits from the restructuring.
The group said its 2020 final dividend of 14.3 pence per share will be paid on June 1.
Chief executive Charles Woodburn said: "I am proud of how our employees have continued to perform and adapt this year, against the backdrop of the global pandemic.
"Our focus for 2021 is driving operational performance, progressing our sustainability agenda and investing in and developing the technologies to meet our customers’ needs.
"Our good operational performance underlines our confidence in the full year guidance for top line growth, margin expansion and our three-year cash targets.
"Strategically, our geographically diverse portfolio is aligned to growing defence budget areas; we’re ramping up investment in self-funded research and development aligned to customer focus areas and we’re leveraging our leading capabilities in evolving markets to ensure we’re increasingly well placed to deliver for all our stakeholders."
The company said that Dame Carolyn Fairbairn joined the board on March 1, and Dr Ewan Kirk will join from June 1.
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