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Business

Airbus confident, but outlook cautious

European plane maker Airbus Group has seen its profit rise. Executives said they were pleased with the results for 2015. But despite full order books, the company remains cautious in its near-term outlook.

Airbus Group announced Wednesday its net profit climbed by 15 percent throughout 2015. The civil aviation and defense company said it chalked up bottom-line earnings of 2.7 billion euros ($3.0 billion) last year.

2015

sales were up by 6.0 percent

to total 64 billion euros, the firm reported in London. It said some 11.5 billion euros in revenue were created in the defense segment.

Last year, Airbus achieved something management had been waiting for for a long time. It was the first year that its A380 jumbo program turned an operating profit after a long period of trying to get production and sales off the ground.

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Orders to pick up

Looking ahead, CEO Tom Enders said Wednesday the company saw no reason to believe that it would not meet its targets for 2016. But he remained cautious, citing a volatile market environment in many parts of the world.

Enders predicted a stagnating operating profit for this year of roughly 4.1 billion euros. He mentioned the huge costs for cranking up production of Airbus' passenger jet series such as the A350 or the modernized A320neo.

The plane maker said it expected deliveries of 650 aircraft in 2016 (up from 635 aircraft last year) and a further rise in orders.

The head of Airbus Group said a decision by UK voters to leave the European Union in a June referendum would not benefit the planemaker's UK operations.

"If Britain leaves, I cannot imagine that this would have positive consequences for our competitiveness in Britain," Enders commented.

Airbus, which builds wings for jetliners in the UK, argued a decision to quit the EU would raise doubts about its long-term investments in the country, where it employs 16,000 people.

hg/bea (AFP, Reuters)

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