13 May 14. Reuters reported that Airbus Group (AIR.PA) posted a narrower-than-expected drop in core earnings on Tuesday, after dodging the impact of lower aircraft deliveries and higher research and development spending, and reaffirmed its financial goals for the year.
The world’s second-largest aerospace group after U.S. rival Boeing (BA.N) said first-quarter operating income before one-off items fell 4.6 percent to 700 million euros ($963 million) as revenue rose 5 percent to 12.6 billion.
Analysts were on average expecting underlying quarterly operating income to fall 13.1 percent to 644 million euros on broadly flat revenue of 12.4 billion, according to a poll carried out for Reuters.
Confirming recent comments by Europe’s aviation regulator, Airbus Group said its latest jetliner, the A350, was “progressing towards certification” in the third quarter in time for first delivery by the end of the year, as planned.
Analysts say completing Europe’s answer to the lightweight carbon-composite Boeing 787 Dreamliner is the biggest issue facing the Franco-German group as it aims to boost margins and avoid technical problems and delays experienced by its rival.
The head of the European Aviation Safety Agency told Reuters last week the A350’s safety certification, the key milestone before any new aircraft’s delivery, appeared to be on track for the end of the summer barring any new hiccups. Industry sources say it could come as soon as end-August.
Airbus struck a more cautious note on its flagship jetliner, the double-decker A380 superjumbo, however, saying it was “acting on the lessons” learned from tests and experience as it comes up for six-year maintenance checks. It did not elaborate.
Airbus is “making progress” towards achieving a previously stated target of breaking even in 2015 on the world’s largest passenger jet, which also had a troubled development and experienced delays before entering into service in late 2007.
Airbus Group meanwhile reported another hefty outflow of cash in the first quarter as it earmarks liquidity for major projects. Free cashflow before acquisitions came in at a negative figure of 2 billion euros, though this was less than the unusually weak level of 3.2 billion seen a year earlier.
Airbus is aiming for stable free cashflow for the year.
Revenue at Airbus Helicopters rose 14 percent, and operating profit at the former Eurocopter unit almost trebled compared with the same quarter a year ago when flight restrictions in the wake of a series of incidents hit Super Puma deliveries and services.
Defense and Space operating profit rose marginally as the company announced an end to a stand-off with Turkey over delivery of the first A400M, Europe’s military transporter developed by Airbus.
Airbus Group Results
13 May 14. Airbus Group (stock exchange symbol: AIR) reported first quarter 2014 results reflecting the company’s continued focus on programme execution and achieving its operational milestones.
Group order intake(2) was € 21.1bn (Q1 2013: € 49.5bn), with the order book(2) value amounting to € 683.2bn on 31 March, 2014 (year-end 2013: € 680.6bn). Airbus received 103 net commercial aircraft orders (Q1 2013: 410 net orders), including 20 A380s for Amedeo. Order intake at Airbus Helicopters rose 50 percent and was broadly stable at Airbus Defence and Space, with good momentum seen in the Space Systems business.
“The Group made further progress in the opening quarter of 2014, with improved revenues and earnings per share,” said Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders. “We confirm our guidance, however there are still many challenges ahead for the rest of the year. A strong focus remains on programme execution and the implementation of our various improvement and restructuring plans.”
Revenues increased five percent to € 12.6bn (Q1 2013: € 12.1bn), with all three Divisions contributing positively and Airbus Helicopters showing a double-digit increase as deliverie