BAE keeps chin up despite figures

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PROFITS at BAE Systems has dipped by seven per cent – but officials have praised the work carried out by the defence giant in Portsmouth last year.

The firm’s sales went down to £17.8bn in 2012 while the company warned that defence spending in the UK and United States, where it generated 20 per cent of its revenues last year, was expected to continue to be constrained.

But in a report the company said it was pleased to have sent two major hull sections for the future HMS Queen Elizabeth from Portsmouth to Rosyth.

The aircraft carrier will become the largest in the Royal Navy’s history.

Production of aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales, which will be the same as HMS Queen Elizabeth, has also started in Portsmouth.

BAE contracts outside the UK and US more than doubled last year to £11.2bn, leading to an eight per cent increase in its order backlog to £42bn.

Andrew Davies, managing director of BAE Systems Maritime, said: ‘This is an incredibly busy year for our maritime business and we are making excellent progress across our programmes.

‘We have delivered major blocks of the first aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth and the completed ship will return to Portsmouth in a few years, creating opportunities across the supply chain to deliver services needed to maintain, repair and upgrade the carriers throughout their 50 years in service.

The company’s shipbuilding operations at Portsmouth Naval Base employs around 1,300 people and is currently delivering three corvettes for the Royal Navy of Oman and the last of three ocean patrol vessels to the Brazilian Navy.