EADS delays A350 but avoids heat of crisis

Thu Nov 10, 2011 9:02am EST
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By Tim Hepher and Cyril Altmeyer

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus parent EADS EAD.PA pushed back its A350 carbon-fiber jetliner by six months with a 200 million euro ($272 million) charge as it seeks to avoid errors like those that nearly derailed Europe's A380 superjumbo.

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

Despite storm waves in Western economies, Airbus and Boeing (BA.N: Quote), 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 key European symbol, 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...