Airbus raises forecasts after strong first half

Airbus raises forecasts after strong first half
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PARIS (July 29): Europe's Airbus sharply raised its forecasts for full-year deliveries and earnings after reporting better-than-expected half-year results on Thursday.

The world's largest planemaker ahead of U.S. rival Boeing said it expected to deliver 600 aircraft in 2021, and doubled its forecast for operating income to 4 billion euros ($4.7 billion) while predicting 2 billion euros of free cash flow before mergers and acquisitions, and customer financing.

It had previously expected to match last year's 566 jet deliveries while forecasting 2 billion euros of operating profit along with a breakeven in free cashflow.

Reuters reported on Wednesday that Airbus would beat its previous target and deliver more than 600 jets this year after negotiating compromise deals with airlines.

Led by commercial aerospace and helicopter divisions, Airbus swung to an operating profit of 2.009 billion euros in the second quarter, compared with a loss of 1.23 billion a year earlier, as revenues rose 70% to 14.177 billion euros.

For the first half, Airbus posted operating earnings of 2.703 billion euros, eclipsing its previous full-year goal.

Analysts were on average expecting 1.586 billion euros of operating profit on revenues of 13.996 billion euros in the second quarter, according to a company-compiled consensus.

"This enables us to raise our 2021 guidance although we continue to face an unpredictable environment," Chief Executive Officer Guillaume Faury said of the mid-year results.

"We are now working to secure the A320-family ramp up while transforming the industrial set-up."

Airbus also announced the launch of a new A350 freighter in a bid to break Boeing's longstanding dominance of a lucrative but volatile part of the jet market, which has been benefiting from growth in e-commerce during the pandemic.

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