EADS Chief Hikes 2013 Order Goal for Airbus


Airbus is on course to sell more than 800 aircraft in 2013, beating its initial order target by more than a hundred units, the chief executive of parent EADS said on Wednesday.

The comments point to potentially robust sales at the Paris Air Show next month, where Airbus will battle arch-rival Boeing for a slice of demand driven by new fuel-saving models.

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"I am comfortably forecasting that Airbus gross orders will be well above 800 units in 2013," CEO Tom Enders told a shareholders' meeting in Amsterdam.

Cumulative orders between January and April stood at 514 aircraft. Airbus started the year with a sales goal of 700 after slipping behind U.S. competitor Boeing last year. The company's sales chief last month predicted full-year orders of 750 jets.

Enders and Denis Ranque, attending his first shareholder meeting as chairman, said EADS would maintain a dividend payout ratio in line with the sector after lifting it to 40 percent.

EADS proposed a dividend for 2012 of 0.6 euros, up from 0.45 euros for the previous year when the payout stood at 35 percent.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher)