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EADS Upgrades Earnings Forecast, Takes Charge To Fix A380 Wing Cracks

By David Pearson Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES PARIS -(Dow Jones)- European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co NV (EAD.FR) said Wednesday it took a EUR158 million charge in the first quarter to provide a permanent fix to wing cracks in its iconic A380 superjumbo, but the aerospace giant raised its projection for earnings for the full year on increased commercial jet production. The company reported a net profit of EUR133 million for the three months through March, compared with a loss of EUR12 million a year earlier as revenue rose 16% to EUR11.4 billion. It now expects full-year earnings per share "above EUR1.85," a EUR0.20 rise, and a full-year increase in revenue of more than 6%. The group's closely-watched earnings before interest and taxes, excluding one-off items, more than doubled to EUR480 million in the period from EUR230 million a year before, above an average forecast of EUR356 million among nine analysts polled by Dow Jones Newswires. The improvement in Ebit before one-off items reflects stepped-up production at its Airbus commercial aircraft division, as well as good performances at the group's Eurocopter and Astrium divisions though the company said it had a cash burn of EUR1.2 billion in the period due to the phasing of deliveries and the production ramp-up of Airbus jets. "Demand for commercial aircraft and civil helicopters remains healthy and our institutional business fared reasonably well despite European budget pressures and an uncertain economic environment," Chief Executive Louis Gallois said. "This led to better-than-expected revenues and Ebit before one-off in the first quarter, which strongly confirms the level of our 2012 performance targets." Gallois is due to retire at the end of May and will be replaced by current Airbus Chief Executive Tom Enders. In March, the Franco-German aero-defense company said it expects Ebit excluding one-off items of more than EUR2.5 billion in 2012. Airbus still expects to deliver some 570 aircraft this year, up from 534 in 2011. Gallois said Airbus now has a permanent fix to the problem of cracks in ribs inside the wings of 71 A380 airliners that have been delivered through the end of March. A380 customers that have found wing cracks have had to ground the planes briefly for repairs and the company has been providing airlines with a temporary solution. In March, Gallois estimated the cost of providing the repair to the A380 fleet at EUR105 million. Revenue at Airbus, the commercial aircraft division that contributes more than two-thirds of EADS' total revenue, rose by 13% to EUR7.91 billion, chiefly reflecting stepped-up aircraft deliveries, notably of its A320 family of short- to medium-haul aircraft. The division's Ebit increased by 59% to EUR183 million. EADS shares closed Tuesday at EUR29.03, valuing the company at EUR23.94 billion. The stock has risen 20% this year, among the top performers on the Paris bourse's benchmark CAC-40 index. -David Pearson, Dow Jones Newswires; +331 4017 1740, Order free Annual Report for The Boeing Co. Visit or call +44 (0)208 391 6028 Order free Annual Report for European Aeronautic Defence & Space NV Visit or call +44 (0)208 391 6028

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