Hawker Beechcraft's decision to axe its struggling Hawker business jet brand has taken a bite out of Airbus, which supplied fuselages and wing sections from its factory in Broughton in the UK.
Parent EADS says it tried and failed to help find a buyer for Hawker Beechcraft, and was forced to take a third-quarter charge of €76 million ($97 million) against lost sales. However, no Airbus jobs have been put at risk, as staff working on Hawker aerostructures will be redeployed as Airbus ramps up A320 production and gets ready to begin serial production of its in-development A350 twinjet. And the charge against Hawker had little impact on a solid third-quarter and nine-month financial performance. Airbus commercial Q3 revenue gained 22% to €8.14 billion and earnings before interest and taxes more than trebled to €268 million.
Staff previously working on HBC business jets will be redeployed
For the nine months to end-September, 403 aircraft were delivered for revenue recognition plus another two to operating lease, taking revenue up 17% to more than €24.7 billion and EBIT up 167% to €816 million.
For the full year, Airbus expects to deliver about 580 aircraft - including the 30 A380s it has been targeting - and will retain its book-to-build ratio above one, with anticipated orders in the 600-650 range.
EADS as a whole is continuing a trend to increased profitability: net income more than doubled to €903 million, or 2.4% of €37.3 billion revenue, up from just 1.9% a year ago.
The Eurocopter and Astrium divisions posted good revenue and profit growth, but the Cassidian defence unit slipped further behind, losing ground in the profit column. Addressing market analysts, EADS chief financial officer Harald Wilhelm readily admitted that last month's abandonment, owing to German government resistance, of the proposed merger with BAE Systems, ended an opportunity to achieve "in one go" EADS's long-standing Vision 2020 strategic objective of matching its defence and civil businesses.
However, he also quashed speculation that the merger failure had kicked off a major strategic review at EADS. The idea of a 50-50 civil-defence split is "not dogma", he stressed. There will be no major merger and acquisition activity in the foreseeable future, he adds.