Airbus Earnings Hit by Lower Aircraft Deliveries -- Update

By Robert Wall Features Dow Jones Newswires

Airbus SE on Thursday reported a 34% fall in second-quarter profit, hampered by lower aircraft deliveries, and said it further cut production plans for its flagship A380 superjumbo amid slack demand.

Continue Reading Below

The numbers are in contrast to its main rival, Boeing Co, which reported strong second-quarter earnings on Wednesday, including $4.5 billion in free cash flow, propelling its stock 9.9% on the day to close at a record $233.45.

Airline customers have shied away from the A380 and Boeing's 747-8 jumbo jet, worried about filling the big planes. Boeing has signaled it might cease producing the iconic 747.

Airbus has also had difficulty getting its popular A320neo single-aisle planes out the door amid continued engine-delivery problems from United Technologies Corp. Qatar Airways has walked away from some A320neo orders and four A350 long-range jets because of delays.

"We are facing challenges due to ongoing engine issues, but we have a clear road map in place and have maintained our full-year guidance," Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders said. He added that meeting full-year targets of delivering about 720 planes is dependent on engine supply.

Airbus reported a fall in net income to EUR895 million ($1.1 billion) in the quarter from EUR1.36 billion a year earlier, the Toulouse, France-based company said. Sales fell 5% to EUR15.7 billion.

Continue Reading Below

The company did, however, stick to its full-year guidance, including free cash flow, before deals and customer financing, roughly equal to last year's EUR1.4 billion. The plane maker had about EUR2 billion in cash outflow in the first six months of 2017.

Airbus has faced weak demand for some big planes. United Continental Holdings Inc. said this month that it would delay taking some of Airbus's A350 planes. In May, Delta Air Lines Inc. put off taking some of those twin-engine long-range jets.

Lack of demand for the biggest planes has hit the Airbus A380 superjumbo particularly hard. The company said it would cut output to eight aircraft in 2019. It curtailed production plans last year for the planes but hasn't won more orders. Airbus plans to deliver around 15 A380s this year and 12 in 2018. At that production rate, Airbus loses money on each A380 it builds.

Write to Robert Wall at robert.wall@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 27, 2017 03:31 ET (07:31 GMT)