Finmeccanica 2011 EBIT hit by 787 charges

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Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) at Finmeccanica suffered a €3.6 billion ($4.8 billion) reversal in 2011 to leave the group nearly €2.4 billion in the red.

This was partly owing to a €753 million third quarter charge against the Boeing 787 programme, for which its Alenia Aeronautica division supplies fuselage barrels and horizontal stabilisers.

Group full-year revenue dipped by 7.4% to €17.3 billion, reflecting divisional downturns and the partial sale of the Ansaldo Energia business and falling sales in the defence and security electronics, energy and transport sectors.

The aeronautics division saw sales fall by 5% to €2.67 billion, as a result of the loss of business from the Eurofighter programme and lower revenues from the 787. This was partially offset by growth in ATR turboprops, the M346 jet trainer, and Lockheed Martin F-35 production. Aeronautics EBIT went from a €143 million profit in 2010 to a loss of €1.55 billion.

Chief executive Giuseppe Orsi described 2011 as "an extraordinarily difficult year" and reiterated earlier promises that 2012 would be "a year of calibrated transition towards a new Finmeccanica". The group is restructuring around four divisions - aeronautics, helicopters, defence electronics and security - and intends to exit the energy and surface transport markets, notably rail and buses.

Orsi's plan is to focus on programmes in which Finmeccanica can either be a market leader or forge a market-leading alliance.

Elsewhere, its AgustaWestland helicopters business was the star performer. Revenue gained 7.4% to €3.9 billion and EBIT grew 6.6% to €404 million.

The defence electronics and security sector lost €654 million, against a €566 million profit in 2010, as revenue slipped 15% to €6 billion.

Space saw revenue edge up to just north of €1 billion, though EBIT slumped to €14 million, less than half its 2010 level.