BAE Systems net profit hit by COVID turmoil

LONDON (AFP) – British military equipment maker BAE Systems said yesterday that annual net profit fell as a result of coronavirus disruption in the first half.

Profit after tax sank 12 per cent to almost GBP1.3 billion (USD1.8 billion, EUR1.5 billion) last year, down from GBP1.5 billion in 2019, BAE said in a statement.

Sales and operating profit however both increased, it added.

“BAE Systems delivered a strong and resilient set of results in the face of a global pandemic, with higher year-on-year orders, sales, profit and free cash flow,” the company said in an earnings release.

“Pandemic-related disruptions did impact profit in the first half of the year but the second half was stronger.” Operating profit increased 1.6 per cent to GBP1.9 billion.

Sales rose four per cent to GBP20.9 billion, with a broadly similar gain forecast for 2021.

“Thanks to the outstanding efforts of our employees and close cooperation with our customers, suppliers and trades unions, we have delivered a strong set of results against a challenging backdrop of the global pandemic,” Chief Executive Charles Woodburn said.

“Throughout 2020, we focussed on keeping our people safe and supporting our communities, whilst continuing to deliver for our customers.”