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Profits soar at Airbus after sale of stake in rival group.

Byline: Rupert Denholm-Hall Business Reporter rupert.denholm-hall@walesonline.co.uk

AIRBUS, which employs 6,000 people at Broughton in North Wales, has seen its profits jump in the first quarter thanks to the sale of a stake in rival Dassault Aviation, although its plane orders and deliveries fell slightly.

Airbus reported net profit of PS568m in the first quarter, compared with PS319m a year earlier.

In the first three months of the year Airbus logged 101 net new orders for jetliners, compared with 103 a year ago, and 110 for chief rival Boeing in the first quarter of 2015.

Airbus revenues in the quarter were PS8.6bn, down from PS9bn in the first quarter of 2014. The company said the weaker euro helped offset lower delivery volume.

Airbus is forecasting slightly higher orders and deliveries this year.

"We had a good start into 2015, with a solid operational performance and improved cash generation, further supported by asset sales," said Tom Enders, Airbus Group Chief Executive Officer.

"We are on track to achieve our full year targets due to both the continued focus on programme management and the implementation of our core strategy. We will review capital allocation towards the end of the year as we progress on the A350 ramp up, A320 transition and our divestments, while the order book provides a strong platform for future growth."

As the basis for its 2015 guidance, Airbus Group expects the world economy and air traffic to grow in line with prevailing independent forecasts and assumes no major disruptions.

Airbus deliveries should be slightly higher than in 2014, and the commercial aircraft order book is again expected to grow.

In 2015, before mergers & acquisitions (M&A), Airbus Group expects an increase in revenues.

At 700-acres, the Airbus site in Broughton is one of the largest manufacturing facilities in the UK and responsible for assembling more than 1,000 wings a year.

Wings for the A320 and A330 aircraft are manufactured in the main east factory at Broughton while the A380 wings are built in the PS350m west factory which opened in 2003.

The PS400m North Factory, which produces composite wings for the A350 XWB was officially opened by Prime Minister David Cameron and First Minister Carwyn Jones in October 2011.

The A350 XWB programme supports more than 1,200 jobs at Airbus in the UK and 5,000 more across the wider supply chain.

Wing sets are transported to the final assembly lines in various ways, including by road and on one of the five Airbus A300ST Super Transporter aircraft, known as the Beluga. A380 wing sets are transported by road and sea to aircraft final assembly at Toulouse.

Last month it was reported a decision by Airbus to move a contract to South Korea saw 50 positions being made redundant at the Metal Improvement Company (MIC) in Broughton. It followed a decision in 2012 by Airbus to award a contract to produce wing panels for the A320 Single Aisle family of aircraft to Korean Aerospace Industries.

This led to 200 Airbus staff being redeployed at the wing assembly plant in Broughton and also impacted on contractors.

CAPTION(S):

Workers on the production line at the Airbus plant at Broughton, North Wales

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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:May 1, 2015
Words:539
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