• Airbus says profit hit by military plane woes

    European airplane maker Airbus said today that its profits nosedived last year as charges related to problems with its A400M military cargo transport plane sent earnings into a tailspin.

    Airbus said in a statement that its bottom-line net profit plummeted by 63 per cent to 995 million euros (USD 1.0 billion) last year, shot down by a 2.2-billion-euro hit on the A400M.

    Revenues grew by three per cent to 66.6 billion euros. “We have delivered on the commitments that we gave a year ago and achieved our guidance and objectives, with one exception, the A400M, where we had to take another significant charge totalling 2.2 billion euros in 2016,” said chief executive Tom Enders.

    “De-risking the programme and strengthening programme execution are our top priorities for this aircraft in 2017.”

    The A400M was commissioned jointly in 2003 by the governments of Germany, Belgium, France, Britain, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey. Originally planned for launch in 2011, its delivery was substantially delayed by a string of technical problems and different requests from the governments. And new faults were discovered in the propellor engines last year.

    Airbus delivered 17 A400M in 2016, compared with 11 in 2015 and has delivered two of the military transport planes so far this year. “Cash retentions by customers will continue to weigh significantly in 2017 and 2018 in particular,” Airbus warned.

    “Challenges remain on meeting contractual capabilities, securing sufficient export orders in time, cost reduction and commercial exposure, which could be significant. Given the size of the cumulative A400M programme loss, the board of directors has mandated management to re-engage with customers to cap the remaining exposure.”

    Airbus said that its new orders amounted to 134 billion euros in 2016, down from 159 billion euros in 2015.

    The total value of the group’s order book stood at 1.06 trillion euros at the end of December, up from 1.0 trillion euros a year earlier.

    Total deliveries of commercial aircraft rose to 688 in 2016 from 635 a year earlier and helicopter deliveries were up at 418 compared with 395. Adam Graves Authentic Jersey

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