EADS sales and profits take off on Airbus lift

EUROPEAN defence and aerospace giant EADS benefited from forecast-beating double-digit revenue and profit growth last year, helped by strong growth from its Airbus division.

Net profit for EADS – which makes drones, fighter jets and missiles – jumped 19 per cent to €1.2bn (£1bn), on revenues 15 per cent higher at €56.5bn, it said in its full-year results yesterday.

Revenues at aircraft maker Airbus rose 17 per cent to €38.6bn, reflecting strong commercial sales, which boosted profits.

EADS said that it had largely absorbed the costs of repairing and preventing cracks on the A380, the world’s largest airliner.

However, it flagged continuing issues with its A350 aircraft, which it plans to fly this summer.

Any further potential one-off costs should be limited mainly to the A350 programme, which EADS continued to describe as “challenging”.

On the back of increased profit and sales, the European aerospace and defence behemoth hiked its dividend to €0.6 from €0.45 last year. For 2013, EADS is targeting €3.5bn in operating profit, and “moderate growth” in revenues. Chief executive Tom Enders said that “bottom line growth” remained the number one priority for EADS, adding that “there’s still some way to go to meet our profitability targets”.

Enders reiterated that a revival of merger talks with UK defence giant BAE – the £29bn proposed tie-up which collapsed late last year – was not on the cards.

Last week, BAE chief Ian King said it was “absolutely not” in discussions with EADS regarding a second chance at the merger.

Shares in EADS hit a record high yesterday.