2022 was a dramatic and historic year: Peace in Europe was shaken. This has fundamentally changed the global geopolitical context – with far-reaching effects on economic development and the living conditions of many people. Above all, however, Russia’s invasion has led many people to develop a new awareness of the need to defend freedom and democracy and, with it, the significance of a strong and innovative defence industry. As a high-tech defence electronics company, this is what HENSOLDT stands for. In 2022, the company maintained its impressive growth and again demonstrated its outstanding capabilities. I would like to thank all employees on behalf of the Supervisory Board for their commitment and vigour during this extraordinary year.
Today, HENSOLDT is a key strategic partner of the Federal Republic of Germany and a powerhouse of the industrial base in the European defence sector. HENSOLDT’s technologies are critical for the success of next-generation defence systems and, by extension, the success of the Zeitenwende (turning point). All this is the result of a remarkable corporate track record. Ever since its establishment as an independent company in 2017 and IPO in 2020, HENSOLDT’s entrepreneurial spirit and innovative strength have been able to flourish. Together, we defined an ambitious growth plan and have implemented it with determination. HENSOLDT has significantly increased its research and development expenditures in recent years, expanded its product portfolio, and also extended its presence into important markets through strategic acquisitions. Now, HENSOLDT is playing a key role in vital European projects such as the Eurofighter, FCAS, and MGCS. Since its IPO, the company has grown more strongly than the overall defence electronics market and more than doubled the size of its order book. Thanks to this success, HENSOLDT has been able to add over 1,000 employees to its workforce in the last three years.
Corporate strength based on healthy, robust business models: The value of economic resilience is also becoming clearer than ever in times of crisis. HENSOLDT stayed on track in 2022 amid a challenging environment characterized by inflation, macroeconomic volatility, and dislocations in global supply chains, again significantly increasing sales and EBITDA while maintaining high profitability. The company keeps benefitting from the continuous improvement of its operational excellence and reliable conversion of orders into successful results. HENSOLDT again received a large number of significant orders last year, even before Germany’s special fund for the Bundeswehr had substantially materialized for the industry, and thereby reinforced the foundation for the company’s ongoing successful development. The delivery of high-performance radars for aerial defence in Ukraine – accomplished in record time – was of paramount importance and an impressive example of what it means to add value through technological know‑how and corporate strength.
HENSOLDT enjoys an excellent basis for meeting the requirements of the new geopolitical reality, both now and in the future. By developing into a provider of interconnected, integrated sensor solutions and assigning an ever increasing role to technologies such as data analytics and artificial intelligence, the company is meeting the changing needs of its customers and growing its contribution in modern defence platforms. As its partnerships expand, especially with new anchor shareholder LEONARDO, HENSOLDT plays a more and more active role in the necessary deepening of European collaboration. With the consistent implementation of its ESG strategy under the special circumstances of the war in Europe, HENSOLDT takes its corporate responsibility and the justified expectations of the defence industry in the area of sustainability seriously and continues to perform significantly better than the sector average in ESG ratings.
With regards to the leadership team, the right foundations for a successful future have also been put in place. Successful, long-term succession planning saw responsibility for finances and human resources being put in new hands on the Management Board in spring 2022. Together with the entire workforce, the newly formed Board of Management will promote HENSOLDT further and serve the mission that has been front and center to all of us for at least a year now: the security of tomorrow.