BAE Says Net Profits Sky-Rocket in 2008

Company generates almost half of its sales in the U.S. and is the fifth-largest supplier to the Pentagon

British defense equipment firm BAE Systems said on Feb. 19 that net profits rocketed 93% in 2008 owing to strong demand for vehicles used in U.S.-led conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Annual net earnings soared to 1.745 billion pounds (US$ 2.5 billion) last year, compared with 901 million pounds in 2007. Revenues surged 18% to 18.5 billion pounds, aided by the 2007 takeover of U.S. defense group Armor Holdings in a deal worth $4.5 billion.

Sales were "primarily driven by high demand for armoured wheeled vehicles in the U.S.," BAE said. "The group performed well with organic growth in our U.S. businesses benefiting from strong demand in their respective market sectors." The company generates almost half of its sales in the U.S. and is the fifth-largest supplier to the Pentagon.

Looking ahead, the group said it would also continue to benefit from sterling's recent slide against the dollar, which makes its goods cheaper for buyers using the U.S. currency.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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