The US defence weekly, US Defense News, yesterday published its annual table of the world’s top 100 defence companies. French giants Thales, Dassault, Nexter Group, Safran and DCNS Group have either progressed or more or less maintained their position.
Unsurprisingly the table is dominated by US companies Lockheed Martin (€35bn) and Boeing (€26bn), followed by British company BAE Systems (€22bn).
With revenues in 2015 of €6.9bn, Thales returns to the Top 10. Safran and DCNS Group fail to make the Top 20 but consolidate their positon in the top half of the table. The prize for best progression goes to the Dassault Group which, boosted by a 41% rise in defence revenues (€1.6bn), springs from 58th to 43rd place. Nexter gains three places to 54th, confirming a rise which began in 2013 when the group was in 70th position.
The nice surprise of the 2015 results comes with KNDS, the joint company born in 2015 as a result of the alliance between France’s Nexter Group and Germany’s Krauss Maffei Wegmann and which, for its very first appearance in the Top 100 table ranks 34th. With revenues of €2.1bn, KNDS even comes in third in the rankings of companies whose business is 100% defence. Having to make a difficult choice Defence News placed KMW under the KNDS banner by merging its results with those of Nexter. Despite some inaccuracies, the arrival of KNDS in this Top 100 table is a good omen of the place this new group is taking in the European land defence sector.
Defense News establishes the ranking using only companies’ annual revenues. The figures are provided either directly by the companies, or taken from annual reports, or from research undertaken by Defense News reporters. Even if this Top 100 gives a general indication of a company’s financial health, the rankings are slightly biased in favour of those companies whose accounts are in US$ given that currency conversion rates can fluctuate widely and have a negative effect on the annual results of companies that work in another currency.