European aerospace giant EADS has reported a rapid increase in both net and operating profit for the first three months of the year. The company's earnings were boosted by strong demand for its commercial aircraft.
The European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company (EADS) reported a near doubling of first-quarter net profit on Tuesday. On a year-on-year-basis, quarterly bottom-line earnings rose by 91 percent to 241 million euros ($316 million).
Profit before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization had jumped by 79 percent in the firth three months, the firm said.
"Overall, the trend is favorable in terms of activity and the group is confirming the good announcements which the market was expecting," Barclays Bourse portfolio manager Renaud Murail said in a statement.
Airbus planes in high demand
EADS said orders rose to 49.9 billion euros, compared to just 12 billion euros in the same period last year.
The group is confirming its targets with a good number of orders or rumors of orders which are in the air, particularly from companies in the Gulf," Murail added.
EADS said its plane-making subsidiary, Airbus, accounted for the biggest jump in orders over the first three months, with a leap of 496 percent.
The group held to a target of 700 orders over the full year and said it had booked 493 by the end of April.
A350 maiden flight awaited
EADS noted its program for the launching of its future long-haul A350 aircraft in 2014 remained "very ambitious."
Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm said Airbus was "more and more confident" that the A350 would make its maiden flight in the next few months, after delays blamed on its new design.
The A350 uses an unprecedented amount of lightweight carbon-fiber material and is seen as a rival to Boeing's 777 and 787.
On the flipside, EADS said there had been a slowing of orders for Airbus' A 380 superjumbo airliner which had been held back by micro cracks in some of the wing components.
Despite a background of cuts in western defense budgets, EADS' defense arm, Cassidian, raised its first-quarter sales by 2 percent.
hg/ipj (dpa, AFP, Reuters)