Engineering giant Babcock International, which sacked hundreds of Fife workers last year, has announced record profits.
The outsourcer’s pre-tax profits rose from £362.1 million to £391.1m for the year ending March 31 as sales rose by 2.5% to £4.7 billion.
The axe fell on 250 dockyard jobs at Rosyth in November as the £6 billion programme to assemble the Royal Navy’s two Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers drew to an end.
A further 150 posts at Rosyth were shed in March. The firm’s final results, published yesterday, gave an update on the aircraft carrier programme.
“As a leading member of the Aircraft Carrier Alliance, we were delighted to see the first of these iconic vessels, HMS Queen Elizabeth, enter service with the Royal Navy in December 2017,” it said.
“The second vessel, HMS Prince of Wales, was named at our Rosyth facility in September 2017 and is now afloat while we complete the vessel and begin systems testing.”
In December, Babcock was awarded the £100m Sellafield “Glovebox” contract to design and fabricate solutions for the treatment, handling and management of nuclear materials.
It will utilise the technical fabrication department at Rosyth for the contract’s 10-year lifespan.
The first submarine dismantling project is also under way at Rosyth and in the past year Babcock has delivered on two offshore renewable contracts from its Fife base.
“I am pleased to report another year of further progress on all fronts,” said group chief executive Archie Bethel.
“Underlying revenue and profits increased to record levels with excellent cash generation, and we further strengthened the balance sheet by reducing our net debt while increasing our dividend for the 17th consecutive year. We ended the year with an order book and bid pipeline worth £31bn, which supports our future growth prospects.”
He said the firm was increasingly focused on its core business areas of defence, emergency services and civil nuclear.
“We are on track to exceed our target of having 30% of the group’s underlying revenue coming from international markets by 2022,” Mr Bethel said.
“We expect to make further progress this year and are confident about Babcock’s longer-term prospects which are underpinned by our technical expertise, unique infrastructure and a sustainable business model which is increasingly relevant to our key customers in non-cyclical and highly regulated markets.”
Shares in Babcock closed the day up 19.60p (2.56%) at 784.00 following trading yesterday.