Airbus reports net loss of 1.36bn euros for previous year

Airbus A380 takes off for its demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget airport north of Paris. Commercial airliner maker Airbus is releasing 2019 earnings on Thursday Feb. 12. (AP

Commercial aircraft maker Airbus lost 1.36 billion euros (£1.14 billion) in 2019 because of a multibillion-euro bribery settlement with authorities in three countries, but otherwise saw a record year of aircraft deliveries and increased its dividend.

The company said its operating profits rose 19 per cent to 6.9 billion euros (USD 7.5 billion), adding that it expected to deliver about 880 commercial planes in 2020 against 863 in 2019.

The weaker-than-predicted sales of the state-of-the-art military transport plane have resulted in a charge of €1.21 billion, with predictions that it will keep affecting the company for years to come.

Airbus plans to increase production of its bestselling A320neo jets - which directly compete with Boeing's grounded 737 MAX - to as much as 67/month by 2023 from its current goal of 63/month in 2021.

Airbus played down the potential damage from the virus outbreak now rattling airlines and the broader global economy - endorsing traffic growth forecasts that "assume no major disruptions, including from the coronavirus".

Journalists listen to Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury during Airbus annual press conference in Toulouse southwestern France Thursday Feb.13 2020. Commercial aircraft maker Airbus lost 1.36 billion euros in 2019 because of a multibillion-eur
Airbus ends 2019 with $1.4 billion loss after corruption charges

The company said commercial aircraft orders increased to 768 a year ago from 747 in 2018.

Nonetheless, Faury acknowledged some Chinese airlines had requested "very short-term" postponements of new jet deliveries that he described as logistical.

It also attributed the negative performance to an "increasingly challenging" outlook of its A400M military transport aircraft, which had led to a loss of 1.2 billion euros.

The A400M earnings hit comes on top of billions of past charges for Europe's biggest defense project, which has been a financial thorn in Airbus' side for more than a decade. Quarterly revenue rose 4% to 24.31 billion euros.


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