Missile maker MBDA eyes further growth in Italy after strong 2022

Eurosatory international defence and security exhibition in Villepinte
The logo of MBDA missile systems is pictured at the Eurosatory international defence and security exhibition in Villepinte, near Paris, France June 13, 2022. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

ROME, March 27 (Reuters) - The Italian unit of European missile maker MBDA almost doubled its orders last year and aims to keep them above the 1 billion euro ($1.08 billion) threshold in 2023, its country managing director said on Monday.

The missile group is owned by France's Airbus (AIR.PA) and Britain's BAE Systems (BAES.L), both with a 37.5% stake, and by Italy's defence and aerospace group Leonardo (LDOF.MI), with the remaining 25%.

"The acceleration is linked to a new attitude towards defence," said Lorenzo Mariani, who is also executive group director for sales & business development, pointing to an "indirect" effect from the ongoing war in Ukraine.

MBDA's Italian operations totalled just over 1 billion euros in revenues from contracts in 2022, against 685 million euros in the previous year, according to a slide presentation at the company's Italian headquarters in Rome.

Earlier this month, MBDA reported revenues for the whole European consortium of 4.2 billion euros in 2022, with orders reaching a record 9 billion driven by a strong export performance.

The company is handling a backlog worth 22.3 billion euros, including contracts with the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

MBDA has some 16% of the global missile market in terms of orders, and is the largest player in Europe with a 43% share, the company said.

Mariani, its top manager for Italy, is seen among the frontrunners to replace former banker Alessandro Profumo as Leonardo chief executive, sources have told Reuters, as the government prepares to make key appointments at state-controlled firms.

Mariani declined to comment on his possible nomination but said he expected the new Leonardo leadership to treat MBDA "as a jewel, as it is a great asset for Europe and for his shareholders".

($1 = 0.9285 euros)

Reporting by Angelo Amante Editing by Alvise Armellini and Peter Graff

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