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Saab Year-End Report 2021: A year with growth and strong cash flow generation

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Saab presents the year-end results for 2021.

Key highlights Q4 2021

  • Order intake of SEK 12,218m with strong growth in small and medium orders of 41% and 50%, respectively. Order backlog amounted to SEK 105bn (100).
  • Sales amounted to SEK 11,943m (12,491) with continued good activity in the defence business while civil aviation business remained weak.
  • EBITDA showed an improvement and amounted to SEK 1,587m (1,229), corresponding to a margin of 13.3% (9.8). EBITDA also improved compared to adjusted EBITDA of 1,544 in Q4 2020 with a margin of 12.5%.
  • Operating income amounted to SEK 1,076m (766), and corresponded to a margin of 9.0% (6.1). The operating margin improved compared to the adjusted operating income of 8.8% in Q4 2020. 
  • Operational cash flow in the quarter was SEK 1,522m (2,901) and came in at SEK 3,276m (2,773) for the full year.
  • The Board proposes a dividend for 2021 of SEK 4.90 (4.70) per share.
  • Outlook 2022: organic growth to be around 5%, an operating income improvement between 8-12% and operational cash flow to be positive for 2022, however at a lower level than in 2021.

Statement by Micael Johansson, President and CEO, Saab:

In 2021, we strengthened our platform for future growth by continuing to grow our order intake. This was despite the fact that the HX-fighter campaign in Finland favoured a U.S. capability over a strong Swedish offer. With a consistent focus on improved project execution and efficiency, we delivered on our targets for 2021. We achieved sales growth of 11%, an improvement in earnings, corresponding to an operating margin of 7.4% and we continued to deliver strong positive cash flow for the second year in a row. In contrast to 2020, Saab’s financials were not affected by items affecting comparability in 2021.

In the fourth quarter, demand for our products remained high with small and medium sized orders growing 41% and 50%, respectively. Order intake was particularly strong in Sweden and Europe in the quarter. This added to our order book, which is now amounting to SEK 105 billion (100). Key orders during the quarter was the Gripen E new equipment contract to Sweden, several Carl-Gustaf orders including the next generation round to Sweden and a launch contract for the new G1X radar in the air defence segment.

Sales declined in the fourth quarter and was down -4%, in line with our outlook. Aeronautics and Kockums reported growth while Dynamics and Surveillance had lower sales. In Surveillance, sales declined mainly due to the strong volumes related to GlobalEye in Q4 2020 and in Dynamics due to a more even sales pattern in 2021. Looking ahead, capitalizing on the strong market, executing on our backlog and work to restore stability in the civil aviation business will continue to be our key focus. For the full year 2022, we expect organic sales growth to be around 5%.

Operating income amounted to SEK 1,076m in the quarter, corresponding to a margin of 9.0%. Even though sales in the quarter was lower, operational performance contributed to improved gross margin. For 2022, we expect continued growth and higher efficiency, which will support earnings growth. We expect EBIT to grow between 8% and 12% for the full year 2022.

Operational cash flow in the quarter amounted to SEK 1.5 billion (2.9). For the full year operational cash flow was positive and came in strong at SEK 3.3 billion (2.8). This was mainly due to higher EBITDA and cash flow from large milestone payments during the year. Looking ahead, we estimate operational cash flow to continue to be positive, however at a lower level than in 2021 for the coming two years. Based on Saab’s financial results and future outlook, the Board proposes an increase of the dividend to SEK 4.90 (4.70) per share for 2021.  

The risks related to the global pandemic remains to some extent, and there is a continued risk for resource and supply chain shortages. We proactively manage the challenges by new ways of working, which we learned and implemented during the pandemic. By this, we have largely mitigated the impact on our business. We continue to be cautious in our planning and have a close dialogue with our suppliers to mitigate potential future effects.

We are accelerating our sustainability agenda and firmly believe that defence and security capabilities are prerequisites for peace, security and stability.  We are especially reminded by this in times where geopolitical tensions and security threats are increasing. Our sustainability commitment is based on Saab’s mission to keep people and society safe, and we contribute to the global community by focusing on key UN goals for sustainable development identified in our strategy. During the period, we made further progress in our work to manage sustainability risks and decided to implement a Responsible Sales Policy. Saab is committed to work with future sustainability challenges, including driving corporate climate action by setting Science-Based Targets and through transparent reporting. I am confident that this journey will support long-term value creation for all our stakeholders.

Finally, I would like to thank our over 18,000 employees for their commitment and hard work in a challenging but successful 2021.

Financial highlights

MSEK Full Year 2021 Full Year 2020  Change, % Q4 2021 Q4 2020  Change, %
Order bookings 43,569 42,328 3 12,218 18,106 -33
Order backlog 105,177 99,816 5
Sales 39,154 35,431 11 11,943 12,491 -4
Gross income 8,205 5,676 45 2,412 2,139 13
Gross margin, % 21.0 16.0 20.2 17.1
EBITDA 4,826 2,833 70 1,587 1,229 29
EBITDA margin, % 12.3 8.0 13.3 9.8
Operating income (EBIT) 2,888 1,315 120 1,076 766 40
Operating margin, % 7.4 3.7 9.0 6.1
Adjusted operating income ¹ 2,888 2,738 5 1,076 1,081 0
Adjusted operating margin, % ¹ 7.4 7.4 9.0 8.8
Net income 2,025 1,092 85 791 603 31
of which Parent Company’s shareholders’ interest 1,926 1,073 79 733 598 23
Earnings per share after dilution, SEK 14.45 8.01 5.52 4.48
Return on equity, % ² 9.0 5.1
Operational cash flow 3,276 2,773 1,522 2,901
Free cash flow 2,737 3,753 1,377 3,055
Free cash flow per share after dilution, SEK 20.53 28.03 10.36 22.87
Average number of shares after dilution 133,293,340 133,877,141 132,861,467 133,553,781
¹ Items affecting comparability, see note 5
² Return on equity is measured over a rolling 12-month period.

For more information and explanations regarding the usage of these key ratios, please see http://saab.com/investors/financial-data/key-ratios/

Saab’s Year-End Report 2021 Presentation

Saab’s CEO and President Micael Johansson and CFO and deputy CEO Christian Luiga will present the Saab year-end results for 2021.

Date:            Friday, 11 February at 10:00 (CET).

You are welcome to watch the live webcast or dial in to the conference call. It is possible to post questions over the conference call and the web. 

Live webcast: https://www.saab.com/investors/webcast/Q4-2021  

Conference call:

Please, dial in using one of the numbers below.

Sweden: +46 8 566 427 06

United Kingdom: +44 333 300 9261

United States: +1 631 913 1422 (U.S. PIN: 51345232#)

The presentation material and the webcast will be available on http://www.saab.com/investors

For further information, please contact:

Mattias Rådström, Head of Media Relations

+46 (0)734 180 018


Merton Kaplan, Head of Investor Relations

+46 (0)734 182 071



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Saab is a leading defence and security company with an enduring mission, to help nations keep their people and society safe. Empowered by its 18,000 talented people, Saab constantly pushes the boundaries of technology to create a safer, more sustainable and more equitable world. Saab designs, manufactures and maintains advanced systems in aeronautics, weapons, command and control, sensors and underwater systems. Saab is headquartered in Sweden. It has major operations all over the world and is part of the domestic defence capability of several nations.

The information is such that Saab AB is obliged to make public pursuant to the EU Market Abuse Regulation. The information was submitted for publication, through the agency of the contact person set out above, on 11 February 2022 at 07.30 (CET).