Denel's significant losses in its 2017/18 results clearly show a business that has had a difficult year. Photo: Supplied

CAPE TOWN – While Denel has posted modest profits for the past seven years, the significant losses in the company’s 2017/18 results clearly show a business that has had a difficult year, marked by lapses in governance, mismanagement and poor contract execution that resulted in severe liquidity challenges.

This has been further compounded by a R500m in irregular expenditure and a disclaimer audit opinion by the Auditor-General which is of grave concern to the company.

A new Board was appointed on 7 April 2018 with a clear mandate from the Shareholder which included:

  • Rebuilding and strengthening governance;
  • Rooting out corruption;
  • Restoring the financial standing; and
  • Ensuring that SOCs fulfil their economic and developmental mandates.

The Board has also appointed a panel of forensic investigators to probe procurement irregularities; while also working with the Special Investigating Unit (SIU) to identify and root out any corruption to ensure that people responsible for any criminal acts are held accountable. Irregular appointments of employees and business partners are also under investigation. Parallel to these actions, another process is underway to unwind Denel Asia, the company that featured prominently in the Public Protector’s report. Denel has also terminated all the contracts with VR Laser.

Financial performance

Revenue for the year has dropped by 38 percent to R4.9bn driven by delays in two of the Group’s major programme. The development phase of the programmes were delayed, leading to cost increases and delays in production. The liquidity challenges further affected deliveries to clients as suppliers were finding it difficult to deliver on critical components required.

The export revenue at 55 percent has decreased by 8 percent to R2.7bn due mainly to reduced sales in the Asia Pacific and Middle East regions. The gross margin loss of 2.42 percent deteriorated as result of the high base cost which could not be recovered as revenue and plant activity was at very low levels. The operating costs were under severe pressure which included negative impacts brought on by foreign exchange losses of R273m.

Total assets have decreased to R11bn driven mainly by the decrease in cash and cash equivalents R1.3bn.

The company is undertaking a review of the cost base to ensure that the business is able to contain costs at a sustainable level.


Denel continues to provide a strong and innovative technology base to provide an independent defence industrial capability that supports the mandate of a modern, balanced and technologically advanced South African National Defence Force. Such a mandate is required to protect the economic growth and security of the Republic of South Africa. Denel has a track record of a sustainable business performance albeit at modest profit levels. This position is further supported by the substantial order book of Denel at around R18bn.The business focus going forward will be:

  • To restructure the cost base to acceptable levels without compromising on delivery of technology advanced products to the customers;
  • Strengthen the balance sheet, improve solvency and adopt stringent working capital measures to ensure cash containment at all times;
  • Strengthen the control environment in order to improve financial reporting throughout the group.
  • Support the Growth & Turnaround Strategy of the company to propel Denel into a sustainable future.
  • Support a leadership and governance turnaround
  • Fast-track the process of appointing a new Group Chief Executive Officer