EADS (stock exchange symbol: EAD) achieved satisfying results for the full year 2008 delivering an EBIT* of € 2.8 billion. The Group benefited from its strong underlying performance and foreign currency effects while dealing with challenges in critical programmes. EADS’ order book achieved a new record of more than € 400 billion, Net Cash reached an unprecedented level of € 9.2 billion thanks to better than expected Free Cash Flow generation.
EADS is in a good position to face the crisis, although the Group is facing a low level of visibility for the second half of 2009 and beyond due to the global economy and financial market weakness which is increasingly impacting air traffic.
“We have achieved a number of significant accomplishments. The Group achieved a solid EBIT* and an outstanding cash performance. We made significant headway in reshaping the company,“ said Louis Gallois, CEO of EADS. “Even if the A400M programme required enormous attention, the Group has regained stability in 2008 and is proving to be resilient in the face of the turbulent global economic environment. 2009 will be a very challenging year for our industry, but we can rely on an extremely motivated workforce and an excellent portfolio of products. Thanks to our large and well diversified order book 2009 deliveries should remain at high levels, and will give us room for manoeuvre. Cash protection is key.”
The Group achieved high levels of deliveries in 2008: Airbus handed over 483 aircraft to its customers – more than ever before. That figure includes 12 A380s. Eurocopter also achieved a new record, delivering 588 helicopters.
EADS recorded strong order intake across its product portfolio. Airbus received 777 net aircraft orders and Eurocopter booked 715 new helicopters. Good order intake in the defence businesses especially for tankers led to a stable defence order book of around € 55 billion, providing the basis for a more balanced business in the years to come. The Group’s space and defence businesses continued to grow profitability demonstrating the robust competitive position they have achieved through innovation and efficiency measures.
In January 2009, EADS announced it had proposed to the launch nations a new approach for the A400M aimed at finding a way forward for this programme. With this proposed new approach, the first delivery of the A400M would occur three years after its first flight. In line with complex military development programmes, EADS suggested to resume series production only once adequate maturity is reached as indicated by flight test results. EADS continues to address the industrial challenges of this programme and continues to elaborate their impacts on the A400M delivery schedule. EADS is still working with the suppliers of the propulsion system to determine a reliable date of engine availability and a first flight date for the A400M. On a wider level, EADS is working with subcontractors for the engines and mission critical systems to update its own delivery schedule.
In 2008, EADS’ EBIT* was impacted by € -704 million related to the A400M programme. EADS will only be able to update all of the financial consequences of a revised industrial plan, once the availability of the engines and mission critical systems is firmly determined or once OCCAR's position on the proposal made by EADS is known.
As already communicated with the 9-months 2008 results, the unavailability of a reliable schedule update on the A400M programme led EADS to apply the early stage method of accounting until certain events allow the resumption of the estimate at completion method. **
As the A400M will not perform its first flight before the end of March 2009, the launch customer OCCAR has the contractual right to claim termination of the entire A400M Launch Contract as of 1 April 2009. This termination may only be obtained with a unanimous mandate of all launch nations, which makes it very unlikely according to the assessment of the EADS management. Theoretically, a cancellation of the A400M contract by OCCAR would trigger reimbursement of the pre-delivery payments and other payments received from OCCAR. The total amount is approximately € 5.7 billion. Separately, each of the launch nations may claim cancellation of those individual aircraft which would be substantially delayed.
EADS has adjusted its divisional structure. The former Military Transport Aircraft Division is being integrated into Airbus and will become – under the name of Airbus Military – the military pole of Airbus. This will strengthen programme management in particular for the A400M and improve resource allocation. This new organisation is effective as of 2009. EADS is therefore disclosing its 2008 results according to the former divisional structure, thus still reporting the Military Transport Aircraft Division separately.
Revenues rose strongly by 11 percent to € 43.3 billion (FY 2007: € 39.1 billion) reflecting top line growth from operations across all Divisions. The increase includes € 1.1 billion resulting from the move to the early stage accounting methodology in the A400M programme applied starting in the third quarter of 2008. The Group’s revenue growth more than offset a weaker average US dollar rate. Based upon a strong delivery performance, EADS achieved 56 percent of its revenues outside Europe thanks to strong contributions from Asia-Pacific (25 percent), North America (18 percent) and other regions (13 percent).
EADS’ EBIT* (pre goodwill and exceptionals) for the full year of 2008 improved to € 2,830 million compared to € 52 million in the previous year, when Airbus’ EBIT* in particular was burdened by higher exceptional charges (Power8, A400M, A350 XWB). This EBIT* growth contains around € 900 million resulting from the revaluation of loss-making contracts at the €/US$ and £/US$ closing spot rates. The stronger EBIT* resulted from improvements across all Divisions. At Airbus, strong operational performance in series programmes, achievement of Power8 cost savings and lower exceptional charges than in the previous year contributed positively to EBIT* growth. The Military Transport Aircraft Division’s EBIT* improvement was due to a ramp-up in tanker activity and lower exceptional charges than in the previous year. Eurocopter’s EBIT* increase reflects the positive volume effect and better pricing. Both Astrium and the Defence & Security Division increased EBIT* and reached record profitability.
In line with the Group's EBIT* development, EADS improved its Net Income to € 1,572 million (FY 2007: € -446 million), or earnings per share to € 1.95 (earnings per share FY 2007: € -0.56). Self-financed R&D expenses remained stable at € 2,669 million (FY 2007: € 2,608 million). This reflects Airbus’ and Eurocopter’s continuing aircraft development programmes.
Free Cash Flow before customer financing was stronger than expected and reached € 2,886 million (FY 2007: € 3,293 million). The change resulted mainly from the higher level of advance payments received in 2007 (incl. Paradigm refinancing step-up of € 1.1 billion), partly compensated by positive contributions from tanker programmes. Due to some customer financing needs, Free Cash Flow including customer financing stood at € 2,559 million (FY 2007: € 3,354 million). Despite a cash-out for contribution to plan assets of pension schemes and premium for options, the Net Cash position reached a record € 9.2 billion (year-end 2007: € 7.0 billion). This gives EADS a robust liquidity base in economically turbulent and unpredictable times.
The Group's improved operational performance in legacy programmes and the strong cash development drove earnings per share to € 1.95 and justify the increase in dividend. The Board of Directors is proposing to the Annual General Meeting of shareholders a dividend of € 0.20 per share (gross amount dividend per share 2007: € 0.12). Subject to the Annual General Meeting approval, the dividend will be paid on 8 June 2009.
EADS CFO Hans Peter Ring commented: “The amount of the dividend acknowledges the turbulent economic environment and the risk in the A400M programme, but recognises the loyalty of EADS shareholders and reflects our confidence in the Group’s solidity through 2009 and beyond.”
A remarkable order intake of € 98.6 billion (FY 2007: € 136.8 billion), supported by strong order flow in all Divisions – including the important UK tanker order – underlines the attractiveness of EADS’ product offering across its entire portfolio. At the end of December 2008, EADS’ order book reached a record level of € 400.2 billion (year-end 2007: € 339.5 billion). The growth in order book benefited € 10 billion from a favourable US dollar spot rate at the end of December 2008 compared to year-end 2007. Orders within the commercial aircraft business are based on list prices. Strong order intake in the defence businesses led to a stable defence order book of € 54.9 billion (year-end 2007: € 54.5 billion). At the end of December 2008, EADS had 118,349 employees (year-end 2007: 116,493).
In 2008, EADS continued to improve its Group-wide efficiency. The Power8 restructuring programme again exceeded its targets and delivered gross cost savings of € 1.3 billion; the targets for 2010 remain unchanged. Cost saving programmes of other Divisions are on track, and the Power8 Plus programme is to deliver a further annual EBIT* benefit of € 1 billion from across the Group in 2011 to 2012. In addition, EADS has initiated a further integration and cost savings plan called “Future EADS” at a minimum level of € 200 million in 2011-2012. It aims at further integration, improvement of decision making processes and cost savings through the Headquarters, the Divisions and the interaction between Headquarters and the Divisions.
The former Military Transport Aircraft Division will be integrated into Airbus to facilitate a greater level of overall programme management efficiency, and a coordination of the Astrium and EADS Defence & Security Divisions is established. It will ensure a consistent approach towards common customers and foster the development of commercial, technical and strategic synergies.
In its divestment strategy EADS recorded major achievements. The sale of the site in Laupheim (Germany) to Diehl/Thales and the sale of the manufacturing unit of the site in Filton (UK) to GKN were completed. The sites in Augsburg, Nordenham and Varel (Germany) were merged into Premium AEROTEC and the sites in Meaulte and St. Nazaire Ville (France) into Aerolia. Both companies became fully operational as of 1 January 2009. They are well positioned to become major players on the global market. Furthermore, EADS has sold a 70 percent majority stake in EADS Socata to DAHER.
“Despite the difficult environment in 2008, EADS continued to turn its Vision 2020 into action. We kept a sharp focus on the Group’s integration particularly through the introduction of shared services, fostered innovation efforts in the field of eco-efficiency and strengthened our presence in the defence and service business in the US. Current circumstances confirm the validity of the Vision 2020 objective of achieving a better balanced portfolio of activities inside EADS,” said Louis Gallois.
EADS has begun 2009 with a mixed level of visibility. At Airbus, visibility is satisfactory for the first half of the year, but the level of uncertainty increases beyond the first half. The Group's bottom-up analysis is supported by the order book and the recent decision to adjust production rates of single-aisle aircraft to 34 aircraft per month from October 2009 onwards; the ramp-up for the long range Family was frozen at 8.5 aircraft per month. This analysis shows overbooking for the next years. Nevertheless, the order book is challenged by the deterioration of the macroeconomic and traffic indicators. Therefore, EADS is carefully monitoring the market, its customer base and its suppliers. As a result, the management is applying a rolling plan concept. Besides the commercial order book, the Group’s defence and institutional order book provides a certain level of protection and stability.
EADS expects Airbus to capture between 300 and 400 new gross orders in 2009, which is challenging taking into account the current market conditions. Based on a stable delivery assumption and a US dollar rate of € 1 = US$ 1.39, EADS revenues should roughly be in line with the 2008 level.
Under these assumptions, EBIT* before one-offs should be down in 2009 but significantly positive and supported by robust underlying performance. Revised industrial plans to complete the A400M programme could lead to a significant charge, weighing on EBIT*, depending on the outcome of negotiations with customers and suppliers. EBIT* will be negatively impacted by increased Research & Development (R&D) expenses, by significant hedging deterioration, price deterioration, increasing customer financing and in-service support costs compared to 2008, partly offset by further Power8 cost savings.
Free Cash Flow for 2009 will reflect some negative impacts from lower customer advance payments at Airbus and some build-up of inventory in the fourth quarter of 2009, reflecting the reduction of the single-aisle production rate. EADS expects to support customers in financing their deliveries on a discretionary basis in 2009. The cash consumption of provisions taken over recent years will also weigh on the cash flow. At this stage, with the current level of visibility, EADS is not expecting to consume more than € 1.5 billion of Free Cash Flow after customer financing in 2009.
As soon as the Group has better visibility on the outcome of the A400M discussions and the development of its commercial markets EADS will update its guidance more precisely.
EADS uses EBIT pre goodwill impairment and exceptionals as a key indicator of its economic performance. The term “exceptionals” refers to such items as depreciation expenses of fair value adjustments relating to the EADS merger, the Airbus Combination and the formation of MBDA, as well as impairment charges thereon.
As the outcome of the A400M construction contract cannot be estimated reliably, EADS can currently not comply with all requirements to account for the contract under the estimate-at-completion accounting methodology. Consequently and in accordance with IAS 11 (Construction Contracts), EADS has suspended the application of estimate at completion methodology accounting (“milestone accounting”) and has then recognised contract costs incurred to date as an expense directly in the income statement as well as corresponding revenues as far as such contract costs incurred are expected to be recoverable under the “early stage“ method of accounting. The loss-at-completion provision was then updated only to cover additional losses under the contract which EADS was able to estimate reliably.
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