European aerospace giant Airbus has reported higher-than-expected earnings for last year, boosted by strong sales of its civilian aircraft. Problems with its A400M military plane, however, weighed on profits.
European aerospace and defense group, Airbus, on Friday reported earnings before interest, taxes and one-off items of 4.07 billion euros ($4.56 billion) in 2014, surpassing analysts' expectations of 3.84 billion euros.
Net income for the year rose 59 percent to 2.34 billion euros, while revenues increased 5 percent year-on-year to 60.7 billion euros.
"We achieved a significant improvement in profitability and cash generation in 2014 thanks to a record order book and strong operational performance in most areas," Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said in a statement.
The result was a surprise, given that the aircraft manufacturer was forced to book a net charge of 551 million euros in the last three months of the year due to delays on the A400M military transport plane program.
The A400M has been fraught with problems since its launch more than a decade ago. The latest problems stem from delays in integrating the aircraft's military capabilities such as cargo handling and air-to-air refueling systems. In January Airbus announced a shake-up in management of the project.
In 2014, the world's second largest planemaker after Boeing delivered more commercial aircraft than ever before, including the first planes of its A350 series. Net orders were more than twice the number of deliveries.
Looking ahead, Airbus said it expected "slightly higher" deliveries in 2015, and more orders for commercial aircraft, compared with last year.
Due to strong demand for single aisle aircraft, the company will boost production of its A320 aircraft to 50 per month from 2017 onwards. Moreover, it was planning to increase production of its narrow-body commercial jets. At the same time, however, production of A330 planes will be reduced temporarily to six aircraft per month in 2016.
CEO Enders said he proposed a dividend of 1.20 euros per share for 2014, up 60 per cent on the year.
uhe/ng (Reuters, dpa, AFP)