This is called capital gains that fall well. The interim results of Airbus Group, published Wednesday, July 27, were rescued by two exceptional transactions that opportunely replenished the coffers of the group. The creation of the joint venture Airbus Lauchers Safran, which is developing the Ariane 6 launcher, reported 1.14 billion euros to Airbus, including the payment by Safran of a cash payment of 800 million euros to climb to 50% stake in the new JV. Airbus also benefited from € 868 million from the sale of part of its Dassault Aviation shares. These two operations, which reported two billion euros in total, have helped limit the damage, with operating income down 17% to a stable turnover (28.8 billion euros).
A400M, the chalice to the dregs
for the rest, Airbus was sealed by three major problems. The military transport plane A400M, first. Subject to delays and cost overruns repeatedly, Atlas was at it again in the first half: following the problems of motor gearboxes, designed by GE-Avio, and the difficulties of developing tactics of the aircraft capacity ( self-protection, releasing, landings on summary fields …), Airbus, which has delivered five A400M in the first half, still had to spend more than a billion euros provision. “The progress is tangible and the A400M, already in service with five air forces, displays impressive performance and demonstrates every day a little more than he is an exceptional aircraft,” argues the Airbus boss Tom Enders Group, said in the statement.
But uncertainty remains high on the agenda. Certainly, a temporary solution to the engine gearbox problem has been certified by the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) on 10 July. It will conduct first inspections of the devices after 650 flight hours, against 100 hours so far, and follow-up examinations every 150 flight hours, against 20 hours today. But the technical challenge is enormous, and Airbus will have to negotiate a new delivery schedule with its customers. Other charges could be passed in the second half, depending on the outcome of these discussions. “The potential impacts on the financial statements could be significant,” warns the group. According to Kepler Cheuvreux, the new provision would be less than the published billion in the first half. She remains a sword of Damocles over the year 2016 the group.
The A350 must accelerate
The other major challenge for the second half will be the Airbus ramping up production of its new long-haul A350. Leaded by subcontractors of the cabin equipment, Zodiac Aerospace in mind, the manufacturer has delivered 12 aircraft in the first half. He will have three times better in the second half of the year (at least 38 aircraft) to reach its annual target of 50 deliveries. Meanwhile, Airbus Group had to spend € 385 million charge following the rescheduling of deliveries. These difficulties facing commercial aviation branch of the group, the operating margin fell from 6.8% to 2% between the first half 2015 and the first half of 2016.
The goal of 50 A350 delivered it is tenable in 2016? Airbus ensures that the challenge is playable, recalling that 40 aircraft are being assembled. But difficulties remain important: “We are making progress, but not at the speed we expect,” admitted the boss of Airbus Fabrice Brégier at Farnborough. The group maintains in any event its target of a rate of 10 A350 delivered per month by 2018.
The Super Puma grounded
This is the other sword of Damocles over the head of Airbus. Following the accident of H225 in Norway last April, which killed 13 people, 80% of the fleet AS332L2 (a Super Puma versions) and H225 is pinned down. If much of the Super Puma family (450 aircraft) and Caracal H225M of the French army still flying without limitation, the shot remains hard for an essential range for Airbus, very rewarding both on aircraft deliveries new and on the segment of the aftermarket. The financial impact is not yet known, but it should be sensitive to the results of the second half. “Services on the Super Puma represent a turnover of 600 million euros per year for Airbus with a solid contribution to operating profit,” recalled Kepler Cheuvreux on 21 July.
This blow in addition to a weak macroeconomic environment for civil helicopters. The low price of oil is hitting the sector “oil & amp; gas”, which is a major market for helicopter manufacturers. Canadian operator CHC has thus set this summer under the protection of Article 11 of the Bankruptcy Code in the United States. The company will separate 99 helicopters, including much of H225 and Super Puma. Bad news that Airbus Helicopters did not need.