By Bjorn Fehrm
24 February 2016, ©. Leeham Co: Airbus will increase the production rate of the A330 from six per month to seven beginning next year, it was announced today. The move comes after reducing the rate from 10 to nine and then to six per month as demand fell for the A330ceo ahead of the development of the A330neo.
Strong sales of the ceo resulted in the about-face to increase the rate.
The news came from the Airbus Group financial results for full year 2015 today in London.
In all other aspects it was a year of solid execution with revenue up 6% to €64.5bn. Profits stayed flat at €4bn despite record deliveries; the A350 and A400M ramp-ups are costly exercises.
Other highlights were;
- The commercial aircraft division had record sales with book to bill of 1.6 to 1; A350 deliveries ramped to 14 units for the year; A380 broke even on a cash basis and the A320neo was certified.
- Airbus Helicopters increased revenue and profit despite a down market.
- Airbus Defence and Space had flat revenues and increased profits despite the Space launcher activity being transferred to a joint venture with SAFRAN Group.
Here the details of the Airbus Group 2015 results:
- Order intake stayed at a very high level with 1,080 net orders, which with 635 deliveries gave a Book to Bill ratio of 1.6. The order book is at a record €952bn.
- The 635 delivered aircraft made for revenue of €45.8bn which was 8.5% up from 2014. EBIT before one off for the division was up 10% to €2.8bn.
- Here the performance of the different aircraft programs:
- A320 deliveries were 491 aircraft despite bridging over to the A320neo. The first A320neo delivery was delayed from December 2015 to January 2016. The delays caused by modifications to the Pratt&Whitney PW1100G will keep the year back-loaded for deliveries and the neo mix below 20%.
- The A330 program delivered 103 aircraft during the year, reflecting a gradual ramp down from 10 aircraft to six aircraft per month during 2016. Airbus now announced a bounce back of the delivery rate to seven aircraft per month for 2017, ahead of the A330neo switchover which start 4Q2017.
- The A350 program delivered 14 aircraft during the year. Each aircraft cost around €100m more to produce than what is payed by the customers, therefore the A350 program is a burden on the Group’s free cash flow and profits. The profit effect is smoothed by the use of contract accounting for the first years of A350 deliveries.
- The A380 enjoyed its first year as a cash positive program. Deliveries were 27 for the year and there were three orders received from ANA, mopping up the remains of the Skymark bankruptcy.
The market for helicopters is depressed, caused by the difficult times for the oil & gas industry. Despite that, the Helicopter division has managed to stabilize revenue and profits by focusing on services. The yearly revenue was increased with 4% to €6.8bn with EBIT before one-offs at €427m which is 3.4% higher than last year.
Defence and Space division
The challenge for the division is the A400M program, which experienced a deadly crash during the year. Deliveries has recommenced and reached 11 aircraft for the year but the roadmap for Operational performance deliveries has serious delays. Airbus Group CEO Tom Enders thought that ongoing negotiations will be able to settle this without further charges or outright cancellations of aircraft but would not guarantee the result.
The rest of the division was performing as expected, causing revenue to stay flat at €13bn despite a €0.5bn dilution from the formation of the Launcher Joint Venture with SAFRAN Group. Profit before one offs increasing to €1,060bn which was a 15% increase over 2014.