Airbus profits climb despite one-off charge

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By Gordon Smith

Nov 9, 2023, (c) Leeham News: Airbus struck a defiant tone on Wednesday as the company posted strong numbers for the first nine months of 2023. Despite supply chain headwinds, the European firm’s Q323 adjusted Earnings Before Interest and Taxes (EBIT) rose by 21% year-on-year to €1.013bn. The figure was influenced by increased commercial aircraft deliveries and the positive impact of currency hedging.

The robust performance of its civil portfolio was dampened by a net loss at Airbus’ Defence & Space division. The group took a hit of €400m relating to “updated estimates at the completion of certain satellite development programs" which were mainly recorded in the third quarter.

The headline figures for the first nine months of 2023 are as follows:
  • Revenues: €42.6bn
  • Adjusted EBIT: €3.6bn
  • Free cash flow (before Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) and customer financing): €1.0bn
  • 488 commercial aircraft delivered

For context, let’s compare these figures with those published at the same time last year. In its nine-month results for 2022, the OEM delivered 437 commercial aircraft, with revenues of €38.1bn generating an adjusted EBIT of €3.5bn. Free cash flow comprised €2.9bn.

Speaking during a follow-up investor call, Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury was bullish in his assessment. He said that the company is confirming its earnings target for 2023 and would be ramping up aircraft production in the years ahead: “We think we are well-placed to deliver around 161 planes to fulfill the guidance for the year. For those deliveries, we obviously have a high degree of visibility on parts, including engines.”

Faury’s positive outlook appeared slightly at odds with comments from other industry heavyweights in recent days. On Tuesday, Steven Udvar-Hazy from Air Lease Corporation suggested OEMs could miss their year-end goals as chronic engine supply issues persist.

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