Lift-off at BAE as Brough Hawk order helps profits hit £1bn mark

By Hull Daily Mail | Posted: 29 Mar 2019

Profits at BAE soared in 2018, boosted by Brough’s Hawk contract to supply nine fighter planes to Qatar.

The aerospace firm, which currently employs more than 750 people in East Yorkshire, hit the £1bn landmark last year – up from £857m in 2017.

BAE also achieved sales of £18.4bn, as its order backlog grew to a record high.

It came amid what the company admitted was “a year of geopolitical turbulence,” as its Typhoon and Hawk production “stepped down.”

Charles Woodburn, chief executive at BAE, said in the annual report: “Production on a number of programmes began ramping‑up especially in our Electronic Systems, US Combat Vehicles and Submarines businesses, whilst Typhoon and Hawk production stepped down…

“BAE Systems is a diverse and resilient company, pursuing the right strategy for long-term performance.

Inside the manufacturing department of BAE in Brough (Peter Harbour)

“We have a strong order backlog giving multi-year visibility, a broad portfolio with long-term positions on key programmes with strong customer relationships, and a track record of successful partnerships in international markets to develop local industry, employment and skills.”

Mr Woodburn said BAE had secured a number of “key business wins” during 2018.

That included an order for nine new Hawk, and 24 new Typhoon aircraft, for the Qatari Air Force.

Read more: BAE to create 100 jobs as Tempest fighter jet project takes off

The Hawk order, being carried out at Brough, is expected to be completed later this year.

BAE is currently on the hunt for a new Hawk contract at the site, but is also preparing to ramp up its work on Project Tempest – a next-generation fighter jet which is expected to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon in 2035.

A Typhoon in a test rig at BAE in Brough (Peter Harbour)

One hundred new engineering jobs will be created at Brough to meet the demand.

In 2018, EBITA (earnings before interest, taxes and amortization) reached £1.93bn – down slightly from £1.97bn in 2017.

Read more: The apprentice who joined BAE at 16 and now runs his own team at 20

Mr Woodburn said: “In an uncertain global environment with complex threats, our defence and security capabilities remain highly relevant.

“2018 was a strong year in widening our international reach and there are good prospects in existing and new international markets for our products and services in air, maritime, land and cyber.

Watch: A VR flight experience at BAE

“The contract between BAE Systems and the Government of the State of Qatar for the supply of 24 Typhoon and nine Hawk aircraft to the Qatar Emiri Air Force, along with a bespoke support and training package, became effective in September, and production has commenced.”

BAE recently announced talks are ongoing with staff at Brough who could be affected by  manufacturing redundancies later this year , with the aim of moving them into new engineering roles.

Read more: March's Business editions now available as eBooks

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