by Staff Writers
London (AFP) Feb 23, 2017
BAE Systems on Thursday delivered an optimistic outlook on government defence spending, in particular by the new US administration led by President Donald Trump.
Posting flat annual profits of £913 million ($1.14 billion, 1.1 billion euros) a day after announcing a new chief executive, BAE said that "in the US... there are signs of a return to growth in defence budgets, with the new administration expected to further increase defence and security spending".
BAE is expected also to benefit further from the pound's weakness ahead of Brexit, with a large slice of the group's earnings in dollars.
Group revenue rose 6.0 percent to £19 billion in 2016, "almost all of which was due" to switching dollar earnings into pounds.
The results update came one day after BAE announced the retirement of chief executive Ian King, who will be replaced from July by current chief operating officer Charles Woodburn.
"2016 was a good year for BAE Systems," King said in Thursday's statement.
"With an improved outlook for defence budgets in a number of our markets, we are well placed to continue to generate attractive returns for shareholders."
Andy Chambers, analyst at Edison Investment Research, wrote Thursday that King "has guided BAE through one of the sharpest contractions in western world defence spending seen over the last 50 years, and the company is now positioned to benefit from the resumption of growth".
Western governments slashed defence spending in the wake of the financial crisis to tackle ballooning budget deficits.
King has led the group since September 2008, around the height of the crisis, and has overseen deliveries of its Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft, developed with the help of Italy's Finmeccanica and Airbus as part of a European consortium.
"On Typhoon, (BAE's) European and Saudi deliveries are largely complete," the company said Thursday.
Abu Dhabi (AFP) Feb 19, 2017
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis on Sunday said America's vast military continues to run smoothly, even though President Donald Trump's first month has been marked by consecutive crises. "Welcome to democracy," Mattis told reporters in Abu Dhabi during his first trip to the region as Pentagon chief. "It's at times wildly contentious, it's at times quite sporting, but the bottom line is th ... read more
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