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Airbus cancels €1.5 billion in dividends over coronavirus

March 23, 2020

European planemaker Airbus is canceling a stakeholder payment to cope with the financial stress of the global coronavirus outbreak. The manufacturer called for federal support as it is hit by travel restrictions.

Logo Airbus Group (picture-alliance/AP Photo/M. Euler)
Image: picture alliance/AP Photo

European aviation giant Airbus on Monday said it was canceling a planned dividend payment and revoking its 2020 earnings forecast in the face of the global economic uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have withdrawn our 2020 guidance due to the volatility of the situation," Airbus chief executive Guillaume Faury said in a statement.

Air travel has been severely impacted by the outbreak, for example through travel restrictions, Faury said. He called for "strong support" from the government to help air carriers get through this unprecedented time.

Read more: Airbus fears higher tariffs on EU planes

Dividends revoked

To bolster liquidity and improve the group’s bottom line, the planemaker is "withdraw(ing) the 2019 dividend proposal of 1.80 euros per share with an overall cash value of approximately €1.4 billion ($1.5 billion)," the statement continued.

The group also said it would sign a credit facility giving Airbus access to an additional €15 billion ($16.1 billion) in longterm funding on top of an existing €3 billion credit facility to boost its financial position.

"We are also safeguarding our business to protect the future of Airbus and to ensure we can return to efficient operations once the situation recovers," the statement from Faury said.

These measures provide the company with around €30 billion in liquidity and should "secure business continuity for itself even in a protracted crisis"

On Sunday, the manufacturer had announced it would partially resume production and assembly work at plants in France and Spain after work was halted for four days for health and security checks.

Airbus employed a global workforce of 135,000 and generated revenues of €70 billion in 2019.

kp/rc (AFP, Reuters)

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