Saab profit beats forecasts, but orders miss

STOCKHOLM–Saab AB (SAAB-B.SK) reported higher-than-expected first-quarter earnings Friday after efficiency improvements led to increased productivity in several areas, but orders missed expectations.

The Swedish defense company said net profit for the quarter rose to 398 million Swedish kronor ($41.9 million) from SEK242 million, compared with analysts’ expectations for SEK356 million according to a FactSet poll. Sales rose 9.4% to SEK8.5 billion, compared with a forecast of SEK8.2 billion.

However, Saab said that order bookings in the quarter fell to SEK4.48 billion from SEK6.14 billion in the same period last year, with analysts looking for a figure of SEK6.81 billion.

The order backlog stood at SEK97.4 billion, from SEK105.71 billion.

The company has implemented a series of measures to bolster its long-term prospects and raise productivity, including operating efficiencies and a plan to adapt the product portfolio, improve marketing efficiency and increase digitization and automation.

"Much of the focus in the first quarter was to secure important milestones in large and medium-sized projects in the order backlog and to further increase productivity within the Group," said Chief Executive Hakan Buskhe.

"The work to adapt the product portfolio, increase marketing efficiency and accelerate the automation and digitization is continuing," he said.

Saab still sees 2019 sales growth in line with its long-term goal of annual organic growth of 5%. The operating margin in 2019, excluding material nonrecurring items, is expected to improve compared to 2018, it said.

Write to Dominic Chopping at [email protected]; @domchopping @WSJNordics

Source: Read Full Article