EADS sees quarterly profits fall

Image caption,
Airbus has doubled its 2010 sales target for the A380 superjumbo

European aerospace group EADS, the parent company of Airbus, has seen a 39% fall in quarterly profits.

Net profit for the January to March quarter fell to 103m euros ($129m; £86m) from 170m euros a year ago.

The figures included a profit of 7m euros for the Airbus commercial planemaking unit, from 89m a year earlier.

The firm also said it had faced "challenges" at its A380 superjumbo programme.

Superjumbo issues

"In addition, the A380 continues to weigh significantly on underlying performance," EADS said in a statement.

Airbus is struggling to increase production of the A380, the first of which was delivered almost two years late to Singapore Airlines in 2007.

It has also struggled to contain costs because of the high level of customisation on the large airliner.

Earlier this week, Airbus doubled its target for 2010 sales of its A380 superjumbo to more than 20, pointing to a rebound in passenger traffic.

'Cautiously optimistic'

Meanwhile, revenue fell 6% to 9bn euros in the period, from 8.5bn in the first quarter a year ago.

But EADS chief executive Louis Gallois said the recent strengthening of the dollar was good news for the company, which sells planes in dollars, but has most of its costs in euros.

"EADS should benefit in the mid- and long-term if the dollar trend is confirmed," he said in a statement.

And, overall, Mr Gallois was "cautiously optimistic that our industry is slowly on its way back up", despite market turmoil showing "the crisis is not yet fully behind us".

Tanker bid

EADS is making a solo bid for a $35bn contract to build a new fleet of US military air refuelling tankers.

The firm and US partner Northrop Grumman had abandoned their planned bid for the deal in March, saying the process was biased against them.

They had argued that the terms of the tender favoured US group Boeing.

EADS re-entered the race after the US government extended the bid deadline, and it now has until mid-July to make a bid.

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