The armaments electronics manufacturer Hensoldt continues to expect the first orders from the so-called "Bundeswehr Special Fund" in the current year. In addition, the Group should continue to benefit from the expected increase in military spending worldwide, which was triggered above all by Russia's attack on Ukraine. When announcing the most important key figures for the past year, the company, which is listed in the S-Dax, confirmed the forecasts for the current year and medium-term targets, which had only been raised in December. Sales are expected to increase by between 7 and 10 percent in the current year.

The margin based on earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (Ebitda) adjusted for special items and before the effect of less profitable pass-through transactions is still expected to be around 19 percent, Hensoldt announced on Thursday in Taufkirchen. In 2022, driven by a major order, revenue increased by 16 percent to just over 1.7 billion euros. Operating profit rose by twelve percent to 292 million euros. Thus, the 2022 result was about as experts had expected.

"NATO's 100 billion euro programme and its two-percent target will also give us a tailwind in the medium term," CFO Christian Ladurner told Reuters. "From the special fund alone, we expect an order volume in the high single-digit billion range over the next four years. The programs are defined, and we know our share of added value." But until this is gradually reflected in the sales of the manufacturer of radar and sensors for aircraft, ships and tanks, it could take three to five years, for large projects even seven, he said.

So far not nothing arrived

However, so far nothing of the 100 billion has arrived. "But we see that a new dynamic has come into the processing of orders," said the CFO. Hensoldt also wants to be able to deliver faster. "For products such as the TRML-4D radar, we are now making advance payments and are practically setting up series production." 30 of these radars for the Iris-T air defense system, which are also used in Ukraine, have been produced in stock.

In the German Leopard 2 tank, Hensoldt is represented by Optronics. "The Leopard 2 is experiencing a rebirth. I expect this to lead to orders in the short term," said Ladurner. The Bundeswehr would also have to procure replacements for the tanks handed over to Ukraine, Norway had recently ordered new Leopard 2. Overall, Hensoldt's order intake this year will be 1.1 to 1.2 times sales.

Since its IPO two and a half years ago, Hensoldt, which emerged from an Airbus division, has significantly reduced its debt. In 2022, net debt fell by a good fifth to 336 million euros. This gives Hensoldt financial leeway for acquisitions, said the CFO. "We believe that a consolidation of the European defence industry is necessary. We cannot avoid this in the medium term. And we don't see ourselves as a company that is swallowed." The managers from the industry would also be willing to do so, but it also needs the will of the government, said Ladurner. Hensoldt has shareholders from both camps: The federal government holds 25 percent of the shares, as does the partially state-owned Italian armaments company Leonardo.