Airbus helps EADS back into the black

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The European defence group EADS bounced back into the black in 2010 thanks to a boost from its Airbus aircraft business, according to annual results published by the company yesterday.

EADS is restoring its dividend at 22 cents per share after profits soared to €533m (£458m) from a €763m loss in 2009, on sales up by 7 per cent to €46bn.

The biggest single boost to the group's €83bn order intake – up by more than 80 per cent from the previous year – was 574 commercial aircraft ordered from Airbus, including 32 A380s and 78 A350 extra-wide-body (XWB) aircraft. And the company is expecting overall revenues to rise again in the year ahead, with deliveries of between 520 and 530 aircraft forecast, compared with 508 last year.

"2010 was a year of significant progress for EADS," Louis Gallois, the chief executive of the group said yesterday. "Commercial aircraft orders exceeded expectations and our cashflow generation was excellent."

Areas of particular focus for the coming year are the A350 programme at Airbus and developments in defence and space budgets, Mr Gallois said.The continuing recovery in the helicopter market is also expected to add to the 527 of the group's Eurocopters delivered in 2010.

The strong results were published just hours after the Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific revealed plans to buy 15 A330s from Airbus, along with another 10 jets from EADS's rival Boeing.