Paris: Airbus announced Thursday a net loss of 1.36 billion euros (1.45 billion francs) in 2019, affected in particular by fines of 3.6 billion in a corruption case and a new charge of 1.2 billion on the A400M military transport aircraft program.
Excluding its exceptional items, the European aircraft manufacturer recorded an adjusted operating profit of 6.9 billion euros, he said in a statement.
These results “reflect the final agreements concluded with the authorities to close compliance (compliance) investigations, as well as a charge related to the revision of our export contract forecasts for the A400M,” says the executive chairman of Airbus Guillaume Faury, cited in the press release.
Airbus concluded an agreement on January 31 with French, British and American judicial authorities to avoid prosecution in a corruption case on the sidelines of the conclusion of contracts, at the cost of fines totaling 3.598 billion euros.
The aircraft manufacturer, which delivered 14 A400M in 2019 “in accordance with the latest delivery schedule”, indicates that it has crossed “several key milestones towards the full operational capacity of the aircraft” in chaotic development, including the simultaneous release of paratroopers and first “dry” tests of helicopter refueling.
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Airbus nonetheless records a charge of 1.2 billion euros on this program because “export ambitions are proving increasingly difficult to achieve for the initial contractual phase”, in particular, “due to the repeated extension of the ‘German export ban to Saudi Arabia’ decreed after the assassination of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the fall of 2018.
Airbus also charges another charge of 221 million euros induced by the suspension by Germany of licenses to export military equipment to Ryad. Other exceptional charges totaling 576 million euros, including 202 million for the termination of the A380 program, are recorded in the 2019 accounts.
Faced with its American competitor Boeing which is going through a deep crisis due to the immobilization on the ground since mid-March 2019 of its flagship plane, the 737 MAX, after two accidents that have killed 346 people, Airbus nevertheless displays a flourishing activity with a figure revenue of 70.5 billion euros in 2019, up 11%.
The aircraft manufacturer delivered 863 commercial aircraft in 2019, up from 800 the previous year and plans to deliver “approximately 880” by 2020.
Order intake amounted to 81.2 billion euros, bringing the value of the order book to 471 billion, driven in particular by the A320neo program (including A319, A320, and A321) for which orders amounted to 6,249 devices at the end of January.
For 2020, Airbus expects growth in the economy and air traffic “in line with independent forecasts” and “the absence of major disruption, including as a result of the coronavirus”.
The aircraft manufacturer also announced Thursday the resumption alongside the Quebec government of the participation of the Canadian Bombardier in the limited partnership Airbus Canada (SCAC), which produces the medium-haul A220.
The transaction, which takes effect “immediately”, allows Airbus to increase its stake to 75% – as against 50.06% previously – in the SCAC. The aircraft manufacturer will also buy the remaining 25% held by the Quebec government in 2026.