PARIS (Agevy Dow Jones) – European aviation and defense group Airbus announced Thursday that it is targeting higher adjusted operating income (EBIT) in 2021 and cash flow at break-even point, after 2020 due to the pandemic. Nevertheless, the group managed to generate significant cash flow in the fourth quarter.
For 2021, Airbus intends to deliver at least as many aircraft as in 2020, i.e. 566, to generate a EBIT rate, a key measure of the group’s profitability, of at least € 2 billion and cash flow before the mergers. At least at the break-even point.
The European Community disclosed these expectations after posting strong cash generation in the fourth quarter. Free cash flow before mergers and acquisitions and customer financing was 4.9 billion euros in the fourth quarter of 2020. Airbus had indicated that it was targeting at least a positive cash flow for the period.
In the fourth quarter, Airbus recorded a profit of 1.55 billion euros, compared to a net loss of 3.5 billion euros a year earlier, after the fourth quarter of 2019 was punished with several exceptional fees. Earnings before interest and tax decreased 35% to € 1.8 billion.
Revenue fell 19 percent in the fourth quarter to 19.75 billion euros. The civil aviation division, which accounts for more than three-quarters of its revenue, generated sales of 14 billion euros, down 14%.
Analysts polled by FactSet expected an average business volume of 18.4 billion euros, an adjusted Ebit value of 1.4 billion euros, and a net profit of 487 million euros.
Throughout the entire 2020 year, Airbus incurred a net loss of € 1.1 billion, while its adjusted interest rate decreased by 75% to € 1.7 billion. Its revenue fell 29 percent to 49.9 billion euros.
The group also recorded cash payments prior to mergers and acquisitions and customer financing of 6.9 billion euros. This cash flow is mainly due to the payment of € 3.6 billion in fines that Airbus agreed to settle to end corruption proceedings in France, the US and the UK that were recorded in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Airbus has also indicated that its board will not propose a dividend payment for 2020, given the current environment. The group said, “This decision aims to enhance the company’s financial flexibility by protecting its net cash flow and supporting its ability to adapt to changing circumstances.”
– Julian Marion, Agefi-Dow Jones; +33 (0) 1 41 27 47 94; [email protected] ed: VLV
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February 18, 2021 01:15 ET (06:15 GMT)