EADS delays A350 but avoids heat of crisis

Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:44am EST
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By Tim Hepher and Cyril Altmeyer

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus parent EADS EAD.PA pushed back its new A350 jetliner by six months with a charge of 200 million euros ($272 million) as it gave itself more room to deliver Europe's answer to the carbon-composite Boeing (BA.N: Quote) 787 Dreamliner.

The delay trimmed third-quarter profits that nonetheless beat expectations as Airbus stabilized costs on its troublesome A380 superjumbo project, lifting EADS shares as Europe's largest aerospace group also raised its outlook for the year.

Despite the storm clouds over developed economies, Airbus and Boeing who dominate the $70 billion aircraft market are boosting output to meet demand from Asia and the Middle East.

"I am confident the commercial aircraft market will sustain our growth in years to come despite the weakening of the macro-economic environment and particularly of the European economies," Finance Director Hans Peter Ring told reporters.

"Fifty percent of our backlog is in growing regions of the world and not in Europe or the U.S....so provided there isn't a big double-dip recession we think it is manageable for us."

He declined to comment on the instability ripping through the euro zone or to say whether EADS, seen as another European flagship, had drawn up contingency plans for further turmoil.

"I am not in politics and this is something nobody can anticipate reasonably at this point, so we are following the environment, that is all I can say."

EADS operating profit fell 15 percent to 322 million euros in the third quarter as revenues fell 4 percent to 10.751 billion euros. Net income rose sharply to 312 million euros.   Continued...

<p>A model of an Airbus A350 passenger plane is displayed at a news conference in Hong Kong, March 7, 2011. REUTERS/Bobby Yip</p>