Defence giant BAE Systems on track after strong start

Defence giant BAE Systems remains on track to hit sales and earnings forecasts for 2021.

The group, one of the North West’s largest employers, said despite uncertainties arising out of the pandemic, it was well positioned for growth in the coming years with to plans to increase defence spending around the world.

In a trading update this morning, it said its air, maritime, electronic systems and intelligence and security divisions continue to perform strongly.

It has ramped up its combat vehicle production and is on track to meet agreed delivery schedules, and its US ship repair performance is improving following COVID-19 and other disruptions experienced last year.

The group’s applied intelligence arm has also had a good start to the year with improved performance while also benefitting from the restructuring.

BAE Systems operates factories in Warton and Salmesbury, near Preston, building military aircraft, and a submarine building facility in Barrow. It employs around 15,000 staff in Lancashire and Cumbria.

Charles Woodburn

Charles Woodburn, BAE Systems CEO, 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 and 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 R&D 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 group said its 2020 final dividend of 14.3 pence per share will be paid on 1 June 2021.