Babcock targets 4% earnings boost over five years

Defence group Babcock International has outlined plans to boost earnings growth by up to 4% over the next five years as it looks to turn around its fortunes.

The group – which last month revealed a 40% slump in annual profits and warned over the next year’s result – set out a raft of medium-term targets, including earnings growth of 3% to 4%.

As part of its target, it said it would look to increase total revenues from its three key markets – defence, emergency services and civil nuclear – to more than 85% from around 75% currently.

Ruth Cairnie
Ruth Cairnie

The firm – which is the Ministry of Defence’s second largest contractor – also plans to increase revenue from overseas from 30% of group turnover currently, to more than 40%.

Babcock – which is holding a capital markets day event for investors – added it had made changes to its naval nuclear business, combining it with Cavendish Nuclear to create a new nuclear sector, under a single management team led by Simon Bowen.

Shares in Babcock lifted 4% on the growth plans, which come after a testing time for the group.

Shares in the defence and engineering contractor reached their lowest level in a decade last week after its profit warning.

Babcock shares have also been sent tumbling in recent months after coming under fire from a mystery analyst called Boatman Capital.

But Liberum analysts said Babcock’s new medium term targets and plans are “very positive”.

“Although after a number of small warnings, it will take time for Babcock to re-build its credibility,” they added.

Babcock recently named former Royal Dutch Shell executive Ruth Cairnie as its first chairwoman.

She will succeed outgoing chairman Mike Turner on his retirement at Babcock’s annual shareholder meeting on July 18 after 11 years in the role.