Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Thursday, 19 February 2009

BAE Systems profits almost double

Tornado planes
BAE has seen strong sales and orders boost profits

Defence giant BAE Systems has reported a strong rise in annual profits for 2008 as orders and sales grew, helped in part by the weak pound.

Pre-tax profits for the full year were 2.37bn, up 91% from 1.24bn in 2007. Sales of 18.54bn were up 18% on the previous year, while orders rose 20%.

The results were boosted by 238m from the sale of a number of businesses.

The company said that it expects further "good growth" in 2009, despite an expected dip in land vehicle sales.

"The group performed well with organic growth from well-positioned businesses," a company statement said.

Overseas acquisitions

In June 2008, BAE acquired US-based MTC Technologies and Australian-based Tenix Defence.

Despite the programme of acquisitions, the company said it was able to generate good cash flow and maintain a strong balance sheet.

As well as the overseas acquisitions, orders were boosted by a new 15-year UK munitions capability contract and a UK aircraft carrier contract.

BAE said it would continue to benefit from the continued weakness of sterling against the US dollar.

The company supplies tanks to the US army, which is involved in military operations in Afghanistan and Iraq.

It also said that it expects business in India to increase this year.

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