Airbus profit rise beats forecasts, but delivery challenges expected

Airbus is facing industrial delays at a a new expanded plant in Germany. (Reuters)
Updated 31 July 2019

Airbus profit rise beats forecasts, but delivery challenges expected

  • Airbus is the manufacturer of the A380, the world’s biggest passenger plane

PARIS: Airbus posted stronger-than-expected core second-quarter earnings, led by the switch to efficient new single-aisle jets, and maintained its profit forecast for the year while warning of delivery challenges in the second half.

Europe’s largest aerospace group said second-quarter adjusted operating profit rose 72 percent to €1.98 billion ($2.2 billion), led by a more-than-twofold rise at the main Airbus commercial planemaking arm. Revenues rose 23 percent to €18.32 billion.

Analysts were on average forecasting adjusted quarterly operating income of €1.774 billion on revenues of €17.824 billion, according to a company-compiled consensus.

Airbus is trying to overcome industrial delays at a newly expanded plant in Hamburg, Germany, which is responsible for enhanced cabins for the in-demand A321neo, the largest version of the planemaker’s best-selling single-aisle family.

Airbus said it was looking at options to increase the share of the A321neo in the wider A320neo family.

“The second half of the year in terms of deliveries and in particular free cash flow continues to be challenging,” Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said in a statement.

Airbus is nonetheless on course to be the world’s largest planemaker in 2019 as US rival Boeing faces a longer-than-expected grounding of its 737 MAX, ordered by worldwide regulators in March in the wake of two fatal accidents.

Boeing last week posted its largest-ever quarterly loss due to the grounding crisis.

Airbus took €75 million in new charges in the second quarter, related to the cost of winding down its A380 superjumbo program after deciding to scrap output due to weak demand.

Air France-KLM on Tuesday announced plans to retire the world’s largest jetliner to concentrate on smaller models like the A350, which Airbus said was on track to break even this year after “good progress” in reducing costs.

Airbus took €90 million in other charges including compliance costs as it pursues a four-year-old investigation into the use of middlemen in aircraft and other sales. The company said in its accounting notes that it was too early to assess liability for potential fines or other lawsuits.

The European company warned formally for the first time of damage to deliveries and finances if the US goes ahead with plans to imposes tariffs on European planes as part of a long-running transatlantic trade dispute over subsidies.

Airbus said it continued to support a negotiated solution.


Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

Updated 11 December 2019

Saudi Aramco shares soar at maximum 10% on market debut

  • Company is now world’s largest publicly traded company, bigger than Apple

RIYADH: Saudi Aramco shares opened at 35.2 riyals ($9.39) on Wednesday at the Kingdom’s stock exchange, 10 percent above their IPO price of 32 riyals, in their first day of trading following a record $26.5 billion initial public offering.
Aramco has earlier priced its IPO at 32 riyals ($8.53) per share, the high end of the target range, surpassing the $25 billion raised by Chinese retail giant Alibaba in its 2014 Wall Street debut.
Aramco’s earlier indicative debut price was seen at 35.2 riyals, 10 per cent above IPO price, raising the company’s valuation to $1.88 trillion, Refintiv data showed.
At that price, Aramco is world’s most valuable listed company. That’s more than the top five oil companies – Exxon Mobil, Total, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP – combined.
“Today Aramco will become the largest listed company in the world and (Tadawul) among the top ten global financial markets,” Sarah Al-Suhaimi, chairwoman of the Saudi Arabian stock exchange, said during a ceremony marking the oil giant’s first day of trading.
“Aramco today is the largest integrated oil and gas company in the world. Before Saudi Arabia was the only shareholder of the company, now there are 5 million shareholders including citizens, residents and investors,” said Yasir Al-Rumayyan, the managing director and chief executive of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.
“Aramco’s IPO will enhance the company’s governance and strengthen its standards.”
Amin Nasser, the president and CEO of Saudi Aramco, meanwhile thanked the new shareholders for their confidence and trust of the oil company.
The sale of 1.5 percent of the firm, or three billion shares, is the bedrock of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s ambitious strategy to overhaul the oil-reliant economy.
Riyadh’s Tadawul stock exchange earlier said it will hold an opening auction for Aramco shares for an hour from 9:30 a.m. followed by continuous trading, with price changes limited to plus or minus 10 percent.

The company said Friday it could exercise a “greenshoe” option, selling additional shares to bring the total raised up to $29.4 billion.
The market launch puts the oil behemoth’s value at $1.7 trillion, far ahead of other firms in the trillion-dollar club, including Apple and Microsoft.
Two-thirds of the shares were offered to institutional investors. Saudi government bodies accounted for 13.2 percent of the institutional tranche, investing around $2.3 billion, according to lead IPO manager Samba Capital.
The IPO is a crucial part of Prince Mohammed’s plan to wean the economy away from oil by pumping funds into megaprojects and non-energy industries such as tourism and entertainment.
Watch the video marking Aramco’s opening trading: