- Defence company Babcock said underlying profit fell by more than a third in nine months to date as performance in the third quarter was hurt by ongoing weakness in its civil aviation businesses and the pandemic impact.

The company also said it had got its review of its balance sheet and contract profitability underway, with early indications flagged negative financial impacts for the current and future years.

Underlying operating profit in the nine months year-to-date was £202 million, down 34% from £320 million, amid a negative impact from civil nuclear insourcing, COVID-19 and civil aviation, the company said.

Underlying revenue fell 3% to £3,399 million.

Order intake year-to-date was £3.1 billion with the group's order book standing at £16.8 billion at 31 December 2020, down from £17.6 billion seen at 31 March 2020.

Looking ahead, the company refrained from providing guidance amid ongoing uncertainty.

'Uncertainty remains around the outturn for this financial year, especially given that our fourth quarter is historically our strongest and that the COVID-19 situation has worsened in most of our markets,' the company said.

'Given this uncertainty, and the start of our review of contract profitability and balance sheet, we continue not to provide financial guidance for this financial year,' it added.

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