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BAE profits fall, counts on government defense spending

British military equipment manufacturer BAE Systems announced a drop in annual net profit on Thursday but said it expected government defense spending to remain a priority.

Profit after tax fell 6.5 percent to £854 million ($1.19 billion, 967 million euros) in 2017 compared with a year earlier, with the group hit by a sizeable impairment linked to its cyber security unit, BAE said in an earnings statement.

Late last year, BAE said it planned to cut 2,000 jobs, mainly owing to weaker demand for Hawk and Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jets.

On Thursday, BAE said that “defence and security remains a priority for the UK government.”

“We delivered a good performance in 2017, consistent with our expectations for the year,” CEO Charles Woodburn said.

“With an improving outlook for defence budgets in a number of our markets, we are well placed to generate good returns for shareholders.”

Group revenue grew 3.0 percent to £18.32 billion, largely reflecting currency translation, and net debt declined £790 million compared to the previous year.

Order intake was £20.3 billion, while the order backlog was unchanged at £41.2 billion.

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With reporting from AFP

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