ARMS manufacturer BAE Systems saw record orders in 2022 amid an “elevated threat environment” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Britain’s biggest defence firm reported its highest ever order intake of £37.1 billion for last year, which saw its order backlog jump to £58.9bn.
The FTSE 100-listed firm posted flat operating profits of £2.4bn, but said earnings on an underlying basis rose 5.5% to £2.5bn as sales on its preferred measure rose 4.4% to £23.3bn.
BAE Systems said: “While it is tragic that it took a war in Europe to raise the awareness of the importance of defence around the globe, BAE Systems is well positioned to help national governments keep their citizens safe and secure in an elevated threat environment.”
The group said it expects sales to rise further in 2023, by between 3% and 5%, while underlying earnings are forecast to increase by 4% to 6%.
BAE – which builds ships, submarines and fighter jets – lifted its final shareholder dividend payout to 15.2p from 14.3p in 2021.
But shares in the firm fell 3% in morning trading on Thursday as its pre-tax profits came in below City expectations, at £1.99bn against £2.11bn in 2021.
The group had hiked its outlook in November on the boom in global military spending.
Charles Woodburn, chief executive of BAE, said: “We’ve delivered another year of strong results across the group.
“Our record orders and financial performance give us confidence in delivering long-term growth and to continue investing in new technologies, facilities and thousands of highly skilled jobs, whilst increasing shareholder returns.”