SHIPBUILDING: BAE Systems hails shipyards as sales rise

HMS Spey sets sail past Dumbarton Rock and away from the Clyde as BAE Systems  delivers £635m contract despite coronavirus.

By Democrat reporter

BAE Systems has said its Clyde shipbuilding programme is on course and a new order of Typhoon jets will help drive it to another year of growth after posting higher sales in the face of the pandemic.

Shares in the defence giant nudged higher after it delivered earnings per share ahead of market expectations, according to reports from the City.

BAE said it delivered a two per cent increase in earnings per share for the past year, with this expected to rise to between 3% and 5% in 2021.

It told investors that sales rose to £20.86 billion in 2020, up from £20.11bn in the previous full year.

The company broadly shrugged off the impact of the pandemic, although some products it sells to commercial sectors such as aviation, cyber and transport saw a fall in demand.

However, it said this this was largely offset by positive trading in its electronic systems, fighter jet and combat shipbuilding units.

In Scotland its five River Class vessels have now been accepted by the Ministry of Defence, with the final ship, HMS Spey, leaving Glasgow and arriving at Portsmouth Naval Base in October. All five ships were designed, constructed, commissioned and delivered in six years.

BAE said the first three City Class Type 26 frigates are on contract with construction under way on the first two ships.

Meanwhile, legal action is being taken against Clyde nuclear base owners over a ‘ban’ on political activity.

Unite union leaders are angry over what they call an instruction by Babcock Marine made to its workforce that they should not be involved in any process which could be described as political ‘lobbying’.

Top picture: Down Memory Lane. Shipbuilding was the main industry on the Rivers Clyde and Leven at Denny’s in Dumbarton and other yards. This picture was taken around 1928.

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