German automotive and arms manufacturer Rheinmetall has posted a 4.7% growth in consolidated sales for fiscal 2021.

The figure increased to €5.66bn in fiscal 2021, an increase from €5.40bn reported in fiscal 2020.

The company’s operating result rose by 33% year-on-year to a record of €594m. The operating margin increased to 10.5% from the previous year’s figure of 8.3%.

Earnings after taxes were €332m in fiscal 2021, compared to €1m in the crisis year 2020.

The group generated an operating free cash flow of €419m, or 7.4% of sales, last fiscal.

As of 31 December 2021, Rheinmetall’s backlog was €24.5bn. This record figure comprises binding orders, orders from framework contracts, and the nominated backlog of the civilian business.

Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said: “Rheinmetall is on a very good course. Thanks to the strategy programme concluded in 2021, we have completed the development into an integrated technology group in organisational terms.

“This is now paying off: For the first time, we have generated a record operating margin of more than half a billion. We are very proud of this achievement, which is based on all five of our divisions.”

The company’s Vehicle Systems division posted a 2% increase in annual sales to €1.88bn, while Weapon and Ammunition division recorded a 2.8% increase in sales to €1.23bn in fiscal 2021.

The Electronic Solutions arm’s sales remained flat on a year-on-year basis at €932m.

The other units, namely the Sensors and Actuators division and the Materials and Trade division, also reported an increase in sales.

On the basis of strong results, Rheinmetall is set to propose a dividend of €3.30 per share for the fiscal year 2021.

The company also expects to maintain sales and earnings growth for fiscal 2022.

Annual sales are expected to increase by between 15% and 20% in fiscal 2022, based on the current market outlook and the German Government’s plans for possible procurements.

Last month, Rheinmetall secured a contract to supply smoke/obscurant cartridges to Switzerland.