EADS profit soars, earnings forecast up

4th November 2004, Comments 0 comments

PARIS, Nov 4 (AFP) - The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company reported Thursday that its nine-month net profit more than doubled, thanks largely to sales of Airbus aircraft, and raised its full-year forecast.

PARIS, Nov 4 (AFP) - The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company reported Thursday that its nine-month net profit more than doubled, thanks largely to sales of Airbus aircraft, and raised its full-year forecast.

"With the good results from Airbus and a pickup in space activities we can confirm an improvement in prospects for 2004 and beyond," EADS co-chief executive Philippe Camus told reporters accompanying him on a trip to Thailand.

He said the group, which holds an 80 percent stake in Boeing's chief rival Airbus, expected operating profit to reach EUR 2.2 billion (USD 2.9 billion) this year on sales of EUR 32 billion.

EADS had previously forecast operating earnings before interest and taxation of EUR 2.1 billion and sales of 31 billion.

Camus also voiced confidence in the outcome of talks with the British government on a GPB 13 billion (EUR 18.8 billion, USD 24 billion) contract to supply the Royal Air Force with air tankers.

"Negotiations are going very positively and I am convinced we are close to a favourable conclusion," he said.

A source familiar with the matter said Wednesday discussions on the deal with a consortium led by EADS has seen "substantial elements" agreed since September, adding that a deal could be struck by late December at the earliest.

EADS earlier in the day reported net profit of EUR 597 million in the first nine months of the year, up from 242 million in the same period last year, on sales that rose 16 percent to EUR 21.5 billion.

At the operating level earnings before interest and taxation shot up to EUR 1.5 billion from 784 million a year earlier.

Camus made it clear that the healthy performance this year was due to a stronger demand in the civil aviation sector.

"We see air traffic recovering and plan to deliver at least 315 Airbus planes this year," he said, adding that in 2005 he expected "double-digit growth" in Airbus deliveries from the 2004 figure.

Airbus in the first nine months delivered 224 planes, compared with 199 in the January-September period of 2004. The company reported 305 deliveries in 2003.

The Airbus unit, also 20 percent owned by BAE Systems of Britain, had operating profit of EUR 1.382 billion in the first nine months from 701 million in the same period of 2003.

EADS said its overall orders were down 58 percent to EUR 20.603 billion in the first nine months. Camus stressed that the decline reflected an exceptional performance last year, notably EUR 20 billion worth of orders for the future Airbus military aircraft, the A400M, and 21 orders for the super jumbo A380 civilian airliner.

EADS said a decline in the value of Airbus orders in the first nine months, from EUR 37.028 billion last year to 10.547 billion, was offset by an increase in orders received by the group's space and defence divisions.

Overall EADS orders in the period edged up to EUR 179.7 billion from179.3 billion in the first nine months of 2003.

In the space division, losses in the first nine months were cut to EUR 5 million from 184 million last year. But in the third quarter the unit managed to turn a profit of EUR 6 million.

"We will see a positive contribution from space activities this year," Camus said.

EADS shares were slightly lower in mid-morning trading here, down 0.91 percent at EUR 22.78 on a generally weaker market.

Traders, who welcomed the group's financial results, said the slide reflected profit taking and a weaker dollar.

© AFP

Subject: French News

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