BAE waiting on new aircraft orders

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BAE Systems, Europe’s biggest defence contractor, is still waiting on securing the new aircraft orders it needs to meet its annual earnings target, it said.

In reporting a 3 per cent slip in first-half earnings per share, BAE maintained its forecast given in February that for 2015 underlying earnings per share would be marginally higher than the 38 pence per share it made in 2014, depending on whether it secured “anticipated” new aircraft orders, which are most likely to come from Saudi Arabia for the Eurofighter Typhoon.

The firm, which generates about a fifth of its total sales from Saudi Arabia, needs to sell more Typhoons to Saudi and other Middle East customers to keep production of the jet going beyond 2018. Saudi agreed to buy 72 Typhoons from Britain in 2007 but there have been no new orders for the jet since Oman’s in 2012.

Chief executive Ian King confirmed that sales campaigns were underway.