Extract from CEO Bengt Halse's Address to Saab's Annual General Meeting,
April 7, 2003
Saab's President and CEO Bengt Halse gave in his address to Saab's
Annual General Meeting in Linköping today his perspective on Saab from
the time the company again became independent in 1995 and the challenges
facing the company. Åke Svensson, appointed new CEO effective July 14
this year, gave his view of Saab's strategy and future development.
2002 a good year
"We continued to produce good financial results and our order backlog
grew to the highest level ever. For our defence operations, it was
another year of strong orders", said President and CEO Bengt Halse at
the Saab Annual General Meeting in Linköping today.
The numbers for 2002 confirm this. Operating income and the operating
margin - excluding capital gains - continued to improve. The operating
margin, adjusted for capital gains, has improved from 5.0 to 7.4 percent
in two years. Organic growth was five percent and sales amounted to SEK
16.5 billion in 2002. Order bookings totaled SEK 20 billion and the
order backlog at year-end was SEK 43 billion. Earnings per share
amounted to SEK 6.87.
"We have also continued to improve our earnings and now have an order
backlog a good bit over two and a half times annual sales. This year we
expect operating income and the operating margin to improve
significantly, although our margin probably will not reach our long-term
10-percent objective before 2004", Bengt Halse said.
Bengt Halse looked back upon his years at Saab and said that he was
fortunate to play a part in leading a company undergoing strong change
in a market and an operating environment also undergoing strong change.
Saab 1995 - 2002
"When we acquired Celsius in 2000, we took the lead in the structural
transformation of the Swedish defence industry", Bengt Halse said. "In
one fell swoop, we doubled our size and, more importantly, became a more
Bengt Halse also claimed that the re-listing on the Stockholm Exchange
on June 18, 1998 was a huge change for Saab. Saab's transformed from a
wholly owned subsidiary to a company of 40,000 shareholders, sales
doubled, and the export share of aviation and defence operations
increased. Operating income, excluding capital gains, has improved every
year since 1998 and shareholders' equity has increased by 2.8 billion
kronor, at the same time that SEK 1.5 billion has been distributed in
dividends to Saab's shareholders.
Åke Svensson, appointed new President and CEO of Saab effective July 14
this year, described the strategy set by the Board has for Saab for the
"The first is to further increase efforts to export existing products
and systems, the second is to continue to develop future systems in
partnership or on our own, and thirdly, we will continue to focus on
acquisitions and divestments", Åke Svensson said.
"We want to be a company that takes part in the continued restructuring
of the defence industry. We have the financial and organizational
strength to acquire big or small businesses in Sweden and abroad. Saab
has the opportunity to continue to develop as one of the most exciting
high-technology companies in our part of the world. We have a number of
systems that could further strengthen our position internationally and
we have integration competence at the systems level that few companies
can compete with."
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