Reviews Airbus share rises: Airbus writes higher loss than expected in the third quarter

19:00  29 october  2020
19:00  29 october  2020 Source:   finanzen.net

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Airbus posted another loss in the third quarter as a result of the burdens from the coronavirus pandemic, but this was significantly higher than expected.

Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images © Provided by Finanz.net Thomas Lohnes / Getty Images

Operationally, the aerospace company fared better, was able to stop the outflow of cash and now dares at least a forecast for the cash flow in the fourth quarter - but still not for that Deliveries or the result for the full year.

sales collapsed from July to September by 27 percent to 11.213 billion euros, as the Airbus SE announced. Adjusted EBIT shrank to 820 million from 1.604 billion euros. The bottom line was a net loss of 767 million euros, after a profit of 989 million in the same period last year. Analysts had in consensus expected sales of 11.4 billion euros, an adjusted EBIT of 708 million and a net loss of 119 million euros.

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Free cash flow (FCF) before mergers and acquisitions as well as customer financing returned to positive territory at EUR 0.6 billion. This reflects the higher level of deliveries compared to the previous quarter, efforts to improve cash flow and the strong focus on working capital management.

Airbus had set itself the goal of not burning any more cash in the second half of the year. Over the next nine months, cash outflows before M&A and customer financing were EUR 11.8 billion. The net cash position of the aerospace group was now minus 242 million euros at the end of September after plus 12.5 billion euros at the end of December.

"Although air traffic recovered more slowly than expected, we brought the production and deliveries of commercial aircraft closer together in the third quarter and stopped cash consumption in line with our ambitions," said Airbus CEO Guillaume Faury. In the last three months of the year, free cash flow before M&A and customer financing should now be at least balanced.

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Of the 15,000 positions on the original cross-off list, around 6000 should be dropped in the commercial aircraft division in Germany, 900 of them at the subsidiary Premium Aerotec.

With the help of short-time work, Asam wants to keep employees for the production of the medium-haul jets of the A320 family on board, so that production may be ramped up again next year. However, this instrument will not be sufficient for the large long-haul jets such as the A350 and A330neo. Like other industry representatives, Asam also expects that the demand for long-haul flights and thus the need for wide-body jets will only recover from the crisis in a few years.

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The 51-year-old manager, who switched from the chip company Infineon to Airbus a year and a half ago, sees the aviation group well prepared for a long crisis. "We have over 18 billion in cash on the balance sheet." As long as the company does not burn any more money, as in the third quarter, it could survive the crisis practically indefinitely. Especially since there are currently 135 aircraft standing around at Airbus whose customers have not yet picked them up. As soon as the planes are delivered, money will flow into the Airbus till.

The key question for Asam, however, is: "How much debt do we take with us from the crisis?" The group currently has a net debt of 0.2 billion euros. However, Airbus went into the crisis with net cash of 12.5 billion euros. After the crisis, it must therefore be a matter of "rebuilding this strong position". This can only succeed if the group keeps its costs under control even after the short-time work expires.

Asam does not attribute the fact that Airbus customers have so far hardly canceled any aircraft despite the plight in the industry, not only to state financial aid for ailing airlines. Because airlines could even top up their accounts temporarily when they take delivery of the aircraft by selling the aircraft directly to a leasing company and leasing them back. In such a deal, an airline would even get some liquidity.

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According to Asam, the airlines themselves are not concerned with cancellations, but only with accepting the machines a few months or quarters later. After all, Airbus has orders for more than 7,000 aircraft on its books and is therefore fully booked for years. If a customer gives up their position in the queue, it will not be their turn until many years later. "And then of course he would lose market share when the market recovers," he said.

With a new variant of the Airbus A321, however, according to Asam, the airlines can hardly go fast enough - namely with the long-haul version A321XLR. "We believe that only smaller types of aircraft will be used on long-haul routes to reopen routes," said Asam.

Airbus only presented the A321XLR with space for up to 244 passengers and a range of around 8700 kilometers last year and plans to deliver it for the first time in 2023. "The customers who have ordered the A321XLR want the machine as soon as possible," said Asam. So far, Airbus has orders for 450 machines in the series. There are no postponements in these orders.

Meanwhile, Asam does not want to know anything about a sale of the German subsidiary Premium Aerotec. "It is clear that due to the history we get knocked on from time to time," he said. After all, Airbus wanted to sell the factories bundled in the company for a long time, but it failed. "But we are initially focused on restructuring Premium Aerotec," said Asam. It is important to find solutions with the social partners.

Airbus shares currently gain 0.86 percent on XETRA to EUR 62.20. FRANKFURT (Dow Jones) / TOULOUSE (dpa-AFX)

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