Shipbuilding: Naval Group experiencing steady growth in the defence sector

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Adrien Daste - Naval Group

Naval Group is a French industrial group specialising in naval defence construction. In 2022, the group achieved strong growth and increased its margins. These results can be attributed in particular to the company’s ability to innovate in the defence sector. And its attractiveness is set to continue, as the group’s site in Atlantic France prepares to welcome the new future French aircraft carrier. 

The defence sector is certainly not in crisis. The industrial group Naval Group, which has two offices in the region, including its research and development centre at Technocampus Océan, clearly proves this. 

2022 – a record year for the French group

Earlier this year, Naval Group published its results for 2022. And there has been a sharp increase in sales, a trend shared by the arms sector as a whole. The French group, which specialises in warships, posted sales of €4.4 billion, an increase of 7.4% in comparison with 2021. In its latest financial report, the net profit was €339.3 million, compared with €196.9 million in 2021. Its order book was worth 15.3 billion euros in 2022. 

If its order book continues to grow, it’s also because the group has a great capacity for innovation. For instance, the French Defence Procurement Agency (DGA) has awarded Naval Group a contract to study the main use cases and system architecture of an underwater combat drone known as the Unmanned Combat Underwater Vehicle (UCUV). Since 2016, Naval Group has invested its own funds in order to work on a demonstrator for a large underwater drone (XL-UUV).

2022 was also marked by an increase in activity at all its industrial sites, which are preparing for the SNLE 3G (third-generation submarines) contract, such as the one at Nantes-Indret, in Atlantic France, which will be used for machining. 

€100 million investment for the new generation aircraft carrier

Major investments are also being made at the Nantes-Indret site for the future aircraft carrier (PANG). The group has embarked on a €100 million investment programme at this site, which is due for completion in 2028, to create space for the manufacturing of the giant boilers for the new-generation aircraft carrier that will replace the Charles-de-Gaulle in 2038. 

The current buildings were too small to accommodate the two 10-metre-high K22 nuclear boilers. An 8,000 sqm office building was completed this year to house 600 engineering and design employees, and 10,000 sqm will be built to house PANG’s boilers. This building will also be used to assemble the propulsion systems for the SNLE 3G ballistic missile submarines, the first models of which will be delivered in 2036. 

The Indret site, which is involved in several major programmes, employs 1,600 people and continues to recruit 150 people a year. This curve is unlikely to be reversed, as in 2027-2028 the company plans to employ 600 people for the PANG project alone. 

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