BAE Systems denies claims that Saudi bombings increased sales

BAE Systems, the multinational defence contractor, has denied claims that Saudi Arabian bombings in Yemen have contributed to a rise in its financial results.

Display: The RAF's Red Arrows fly BAE planes in a 2015 performance
Display: The RAF's Red Arrows fly BAE planes in a 2015 performance

The claims have been made by a director at campaign group Amnesty International, who alleged in an interview with The Independent that BAE's £1bn sales gain over the past year was a result of sales and engineering support of its Eurofighter Typhoon jet to the Royal Saudi Air Force.

BAE's financial results, released yesterday (Thursday), also showed that operating profits rose from £1.3bn to £1.5bn last year.

Amnesty’s arms trade director, Oliver Sprague, told The Independent that shareholders "need to realise that a large part of the company’s profits is coming from the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia at the very time Saudi’s military coalition in Yemen has killed thousands of civilians".

BAE denied that its improved sales were linked to the bombing of Yemen.

In a statement, the company said: "Deliveries of aircraft to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in 2015 were part of a contract signed in 2007 and the delivery schedule is determined years in advance.  

"We provide defence equipment and support to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia under a government-to-government agreement. The export of any defence equipment is strictly regulated and the UK operates one of the most stringent arms control regimes in the world."

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