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Record Airbus orders lift EADS

Airbus commercial sales grew 10% last year to €31.2 billion ($41.1 billion) and earnings before interest and taxes gained 87% to €543 million on the back of a tenth consecutive year of increased production - to 534 deliveries - and a record net order intake for 1,419 aircraft.

Improved profitability at the commercial aircraft business came through better operating efficiency and favourable pricing, it said.

The order intake included 1,226 A320neo narrowodies. Other milestones included the airframer's 7,000 delivery, the beginning of assembly of the first A350 and the advent of production rate increases of the A330, to 11 units in the second quarter of 2014.

Looking forward, Airbus says the cost of resolving A380 wing cracks will be borne internally and fall within the warranty provisioning for the programme.

Parent company EADS boosted full-year revenue to €49.1 billion, up 7% on 2010, with profitability also improving, up 38% to nearly €1.7 billion in earnings before interest and taxes, taking the profit margin higher by nearly a percentage point to 3.45%.

In other divisions, EADS's Eurocopter helicopters unit lifted sales 12% to €5.4 billion and EBIT by 42% to €259 million. Sales and EBIT fell back at defence business Cassidian (-2% to €5.8 billion and -28% to €331 million) and Astrium space (-1% to €4.96 billion and -6% to €267 million). Airbus Military sales dipped 7% to €2.5 billion though EBIT more than doubled to €49 million.

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