While in 2019, Dassault Aviation could count on the record delivery of 26 Rafale fighter jets abroad to lift its financial results, uncertainty could compromise sales in the upcoming year.
The French manufacturer reported a net profit up 24.5% in 2019, reaching €713 million.
Defense exports represented 58% of the revenue for 2019, with the delivery of 26 Rafale fighter jets to Qatar, Egypt, and India in 2019, against nine delivered in 2018. Exportation revenue reached €4.2 billion, up from €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion) in 2018. However, deliveries should drop by half in 2020.
The internal defense market was underwhelming, at €887 million ($970 million) in 2019 against €1 billion ($1.090 billion) the previous year. Dassault did not deliver any Rafale fighter jets to the French Air Force this year, and should not do so before 2022.
The Falcon program also plateaued. Dassault expected to deliver 45 Falcon business jets over the year, but only delivered 40, one less than in 2018, due to “difficult market conditions”. Falcon revenue dropped from €2.6 billion ($2.8 billion) in 2018 to €2.2 billion ($2.4 billion) in 2019.
“We are operating in an uncertain environment related to the economic war between China and the United States, but also between the United States and Europe,” said Eric Trappier, CEO of Dassault Aviation in a press conference. “The US presidential election should further disrupt things.”
2019 was a relatively good year for the French aerospace industry. On February 26, 2020, Thales reported a €1.12 billion ($1.31 billion) net profit for 2019, up 14%, while Thales reported a 34.5% rise in its net profit, reaching €2.7 billion ($780 million).