Airbus Group NV reported a significant boost to annual profit on Friday as Europe’s biggest plane maker outlined its intentions to increase production of its A320 aircraft.
The company reported a 59% jump in net profit for the past year to €2.34 billion, or €2.99 a share, compared to the €1.47 billion, or €1.86 a share, stated in 2013, when Airbus was hit by a €434-million charge linked to its A350 XWB program.
The company also announced adjustments to its production rates, it would cut output of its A330 twin-engine jetliner to six per month starting in the first quarter of 2016. This is a further reduction from previously planned cut to nine a month in the last quarter of this year, as the company refocuses on its new A330neo.
Revenue for the year edged up 5% to €60.7 billion, driven by a record deliveries of 629 commercial aircraft, or 3 more compared to the prior year.
Airbus said it would boost production of its top-selling A320 aircraft to 50 unit per month starting in the first quarter of 2017 due to strong demand for single aisle airplanes. Previously the company said it would increase production to 46 a month of the narrow-body jet liner in 2016 from the 42 it currently manufactures.
Revenue from the companys commercial aircraft division jumped 7% to €42.28 billion in the past year as the unit delivered its first A350 XWB to Qatar Airways in the fourth quarter. Sales at Airbus Helicopters edged up 4% to €6.52 billion, while the companys defense and space unit generated a revenue of €13.03 billion.
The company said it took a charge of €551 million related to its A400M program, which has already cost the company more than €4.75 billion since it was launched in 2003 and almost canceled in 2010 due to ballooning expenses.
For the year ahead Airbus projected a slight growth in deliveries and commercial aircraft orders, revenue is also expected to expand.
“To reflect the good financial progress we made last year and the outlook for 2015, we are proposing a payment in line with the top end of our stated dividend policy,” said Chief Financial Officer Harald Wilhelm. The proposed dividend stood at a company record of €1.20 per share, up 60% compared to last year.
Airbus gained 0.45% on Thursday and closed at €51.63 in Paris. On Friday the stock jumped 6.99% to €55.24 at 10:42 GMT, marking a one-year increase of 2.32%. The company is valued at €40.69 billion.
According to the Financial Times, the 25 analysts offering 12-month price targets for Airbus have a median target of €56.00, with a high estimate of €72.00 and a low estimate of €39.00. The median estimate represents a 8.46% increase from the last closing price.