DEFENCE giant BAE Systems has announced an increase in sales, months after announcing the loss of hundreds of Hampshire jobs.

In its financial results for 2013, the firm's sales increased by two per cent to £18.2billion while share prices also increased by nine per cent.

Last year the company announced it was axing 940 jobs at its ship building yard in Portsmouth, with about a third of those staff members living in Southampton.

Shipbuilding in Hampshire will come to an end in the second half of this year after 800 years, after BAE reviewed its contract to build warships.

A small engineering team will remain in Hampshire to support the new Type 26 warships, which will be built in Glasgow.

In its results for the past year, BAE has announced a sales increase, and an increase of earnings before payments, tax and interest are deducted of three per cent, to £1.9billion.

Earnings per share increased by nine per cent to 42p, with £850million returned to shareholders over the course of 2013.

Over the course of the last year, the firm has also handed over military vessels to the Omani and Brazilian navies as well as renegotiating the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carrier contract with the Ministry of Defence.

It also handed over the final Type 45 warship HMS Duncan to the Royal Navy and signed a new five-year ferry maintenance contract with Red Funnel and WightLink.

BAE's chief executive, Ian King, said: “Overall, the Group delivered a solid performance in 2013, against the background of reduced government spending and challenging market conditions.

“A proactive focus on costs and enhanced competitiveness protected our margins across the majority of the business and we secured further contract wins in the US, Saudi Arabia and internationally.

“We have started 2014 with good momentum with a settlement on Salam pricing, US budgets in place and a well-defined UK Maritime sector plan.

“Budget pressures in some of the Group's larger markets are expected to prevail but BAE Systems has a broad-based portfolio. Our strong order backlog and robust balance sheet provide a solid basis for growth over the medium term.”