Airbus earns 3,789 million in 2023, down 11%.

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Airbus posted €3.789 million in profit last year, down 11% from a record 2022, despite an increase in commercial aircraft deliveries to 735, above the European group’s target.

The drop in net income is due in particular to a series of adjustments to its accounts totaling €1.235 million and is largely explained by a mismatch between transaction dates and actual aircraft deliveries, Airbus said in a statement Thursday.

The company also established a €600 million charge for its space business for updating the estimate of certain programs.

Delivery delays weigh on profitability

The group’s net operating income (ebit) declined by 14% to €4,603 million, due to a 25% drop to €3,610 million in its core commercial aircraft business.

In this regard, in its statement, Airbus specified that of the €1,235 million adjustment to total ebit, €1,030 million corresponds to the “dollar working capital mismatch and balance sheet revaluation”, and that “mainly reflects the impact of the mismatch between the transaction date and the delivery date”.

In the helicopter business, on the other hand, ebit improved by 12% to €717 million, and in the defense and space business, which had been negative €118 million in 2022, became positive €220 million in 2023.

Airbus turnover last year rose by 11% to €65.446 million, with the commercial aircraft division making a particular contribution, up 15% to €47.763 million for the 735 units placed in the hands of its customers, a figure higher than the management’s target of 720.

Airbus warns airlines of new delivery delays

In helicopters, revenues rose, but at a slower rate of 4% to €7,337 million, with deliveries virtually stable (346 units in 2023, compared with 344 the previous year).

In the defense and space business, revenues rose by 2 % to €11,495 million, mainly due to military aircraft systems and connected intelligence, which made it possible to compensate for the slowdown in certain space programs.

During the past year, eight A400M military transport aircraft were delivered and assembled at the Spanish plant in Seville. This is two less than in 2022. In this program, for which over the years Airbus has had to establish provisions of billions of euros, the company added in 2023 a charge of 41 million for “an additional update of the contract estimate at completion”.

In addition, he acknowledged that “risks remain with respect to the qualification of technical capabilities and costs associated with aircraft operational reliability, cost reduction and the ability to secure the volumes forecast in the revised baseline.”

A “special” dividend of 1 euro

Management plans to propose to the meeting to be held on April 10 an interim dividend of €1.80 per share, the same amount as last year, plus a “special” dividend of 1 euro per share, to be paid out against 2023 earnings.

In the core commercial aircraft business, Airbus maintains its plans to increase the production rate of all its aircraft families.

For the A220 (small-size single-aisle models), the aim is to reach 14 units per month by 2026; for the A320 (the flagship single-aisle family), “production is progressing well” towards 75 per month by 2026. Admittedly, there will be a slight delay in the entry into service of its very long-range model, the A321XLR, which is scheduled for the third quarter of 2024.

As for twin-aisle aircraft, the company continues to work towards rolling off its assembly lines four A330s per month by 2024 and 10 A350s per month by 2026.

This year Airbus is confident of increasing commercial aircraft deliveries to approximately 800; achieving adjusted ebit of between €6.5 billion and €7 billion (it was €5.838 million in 2023 if adjustments are excluded); and free cash flow of around €4.000 million (€4.386 million last year).

With information from EFE