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EADs reveals Q2 results, announces A350 delays

July 27, 2012, Amsterdam, Netherlands - Airbus parent company EADS NV on Friday announced a further delay to its new A350 aircraft as it reported second-quarter earnings that almost quadrupled from a year ago.


July 27, 2012
By Carey Fredericks

Net profit at the Leiden, Netherlands-based European Aeronautic Defence & Space Company was C461 million ($567 million), up from C121 million in the same period a year ago. Sales rose 12 per cent to C13.5 billion. Analysts polled by Factset had forecast profit of C350 million on sales of C12.8 billion.

However, the aerospace company also revealed that the entry into service of Airbus's new A350, which is meant to compete with rival Boeing's 787 "Dreamliner,'' will be delayed by several months, until the second half of 2014. The company said the reason for the delay was "time taken for the implementation of the automated drilling process for the wings.'' Airbus has taken a C124 million charge as a result, and warned that further delays would lead to greater charges.

Incoming Chief Executive Tom Enders, promoted from Airbus in June, said the company's order book is now at a record C551.7 billion. He vowed to "globalize'' EADS, citing an assembly line for the A350 in the U.S. as an example.

"One important step into this direction is our decision to build a final assembly Line for Airbus aircraft in the U.S.'', he said. Earlier this month EADS said it would spend $600 million over five years to build an assembly line for its A320 single-aisle jet in Mobile, Alabama — its first factory in the United States.

Based on the company's first-half performance, Enders raised sales targets to a 10 per cent increase in 2012 from the 6 per cent EADS forecast after first quarter earnings. Operating profits will be C2.7 billion, up from C2.5 billion, he said.

Shares jumped 6.2 per cent to C29.955 in early trading in Paris, where EADS has its primary listing.

Enders also stuck to 2012 targets for sales of 30 Airbus A380s, the world's largest passenger aircraft, but said the company would probably sell somewhat less than that in 2013. Airbus is in the process of fixing a problem with planes already in service it says is not an immediate safety concern: small fractures found near some
rivets on some planes at the spot where wings' metal covers, or skins, are joined with the wings' ribs.

Airbus is fixing the problem on affected planes, which it says is not a design flaw but a construction flaw that arose during the building of the first A380s made. It will begin building planes differently in 2014 to avoid the problem.

Analysts believe some clients are pushing back their orders to get new planes, rather than working with retrofitted planes.

Enders says the company still forecasts sales of 35-39 A380s annually by 2015, the level needed for profitability.