Airbus profits fly up 50 per cent as it looks to sell Dassault stake

AIRBUS saw a lift off in its net income for the first half of 2014 as it rose 50 per cent to €1.14bn (£903m), with revenue up six per cent to €27.2bn, as the aircraft manufacturer said it was mulling options for the sale of its 46.3 per cent stake in Dassault Aviation.

The stake in Dassault, which makes military aircraft including the Rafale fighter as well as some commercial aircraft, goes back to some of the mergers in the early days of the formation of Airbus. However, the huge plane maker is now pursuing disposal options as part of a portfolio review.

Airbus also sought to reassure on the state of the order environment for its planes, after the cancellation of more than 200 orders so far in 2014.

Earlier this week, Airbus said it had cancelled an order for six A380 planes with Japanese Skymark Airlines, after having lost out on an order for 70 A350s with Emirates Airline, which instead chose to order 150 777xs from rival Boeing.

However, Airbus did win the battle for orders at this year’s Farnborough Airshow earlier this month, getting orders for 496 planes for a total value of $75.3bn, compared to 201 for Boeing for a total value of $40.2bn.

Tom Enders, Airbus group chief executive, said “The first half of 2014 was all about keeping our main development and series program­mes on track, shown in the solid improvement in revenues and profitability. We saw good commercial order momentum at Farnborough and have shown our commitment to ensure the Group’s long-term competitiveness through the A330neo launch.”

Investec analyst Rami Myerson said the results yesterday “provides further evidence of improving execution that we expect to drive long-term shareholder value”.

Shares in Airbus rose three per cent yesterday, to finish on €45.00.

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