BERLIN (AP) — Airbus parent company EADS NV posted a 47 percent drop in fourth-quarter net profit Wednesday after taking costly charges at its helicopter and defense electronics divisions.
The aerospace giant recorded a €325 million ($425 million) net profit in the October-December period, down from the previous year's €612 million. But for the full year, its net earnings were up 19 percent at €1.23 billion from €1.03 billion in 2011.
"There's still some way to go to meet our profitability targets," said chief executive Tom Enders.
Revenues rose 17 percent during the fourth quarter to €19.22 billion, with the core Airbus division posting a 21 percent increase to almost €13 billion.
But EADS took a €198 million hit during the quarter at its defense electronics contractor Cassidian, in part reflecting restructuring costs.
Renegotiating contracts with government customers resulted in a €100 million charge at helicopter maker Eurocopter.
The company's core business, aircraft maker Airbus, posted a 36 percent increase in operating profit during the final three months, rising to €393 million from €289 million in 2011. Of that, orders for civilian aircraft brought in €309 million while military planes garnered €85 million during the quarter.
Spaceflight division Astrium reported operating profits of €121 million, an increase of 19 percent from €102 million in the same period the previous year.
EADS said it expects to sell more commercial aircraft — about 700 — in 2013. Revenues will grow modestly, it said, but results will be affected by stuttering sales of the giant A380, which has suffered problems with its wings.
"We would love to sell more of the big birds," said Enders. "We need to sell more, and we will."
Another headache for Airbus are the production delays for its new A350 Extra Wide Body model — intended to challenge Boeing's 787 "Dreamliner." The 787 program has itself run into difficulties with the entire fleet grounded due to problems with its lithium batteries. Enders was diplomatic about his rival's woes, saying there was "definitely no schadenfreude" about the 787's grounding.
In its earnings report EADS repeated its warning that the A350 XWB program "remains challenging."
"Any schedule change could lead to increasingly higher impact on provisions," the company said.
EADS also said it was pushing back delivery of the first A400 M military transport planes from the first to the second quarter of the year. Continued...