EADS profit stalls on super jumbo costs

PARIS — The cost of fixing problems on some A380 super jumbos weighed on third-quarter profits at Airbus parent company EADS NV.

Net profit at the European aircraft giant fell 1 percent to (euro) 309 million ($394 million) in the July to September period, from (euro) 312 million a year earlier.

EADS said Thursday it has spent (euro) 200 million of an expected (euro) 260 million total on the A380 repairs, which involve small fractures found near the rivets used to join a metal cover to the aircraft wings’ ribs.

Sales in the quarter rose 15 percent to (euro) 12.3 billion, and the company says it is on track to exceed its target of 10 percent sales growth for the full year.

Airbus’ new A350, intended to challenge Boeing’s 787, was delayed by several months until the second half of 2014, the company said in July. EADS says that is still its target, but warned that the “program remains challenging.”

The A350 is delayed because the company needs to finish putting in place an automated drilling process for the plane’s wings. Airbus has already taken a (euro) 124 million charge as a result, and warned that further delays would lead to greater charges.

Airbus said it is on track to deliver 580 commercial aircraft this year, including 30 A380s, up from 534 total aircraft deliveries last year. Airbus also forecast between 600 and 650 gross orders this year.

Through the first nine months of the year, Airbus delivered 403 aircraft and took in net orders for another 382 — down from the 1,038 orders it had booked at the same point a year earlier, as the global economic slowdown has weighed on carriers’ expansion plans.

EADS shares were down 1.5 percent to (euro) 8.35 following the report.

Last month, talks on a potential $45 billion merger between EADS and Britain’s BAE Systems collapsed after government objections in Germany, Britain and France.

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