Aircraft maker reports record deliveries but bumper year offset by €3.6bn set aside to cover corporate fines
Airbus has slumped to a €1.4bn (£1.17bn) annual loss after receiving record fines for bribery, but raised its dividend as aircraft deliveries hit an all-time high.
The European aerospace group’s 2019 loss contrasts with a net profit of €3.1bn the previous year.
The Toulouse-based company had to set aside €3.6bn last month to cover settlements with authorities in the US, France and Britain after admitting it had paid huge bribes on an “endemic” basis to secure contracts in 20 countries. The penalties amount to the largest-ever corporate fine issued for bribery.
Airbus also lost €1.2bn last year due to problems with its A400M military transport programme, and a further €221m because the German government extended a ban on export licences to Saudi Arabia through March.
However, revenues climbed 11% to €70.5bn last year, and Airbus said it would pay a dividend of €1.80 a share, up 9%. It delivered a record 863 commercial planes in 2019, up from 800 in 2018, including 112 A350s and 642 A320s. The group expects deliveries to rise further this year, to 880 commercial aircraft.
Airbus boosted orders to 768 last year as its main rival, Boeing, struggled following the grounding of the 737 Max jet after two crashes killed 346 people. The US firm lost orders last year for the first time in three decades and delivered only 380 commercial airplanes.
Airbus is one of the biggest manufacturers in the UK, where it employs more than 14,000 people. A further 110,000 supply-chain jobs depend on its operations, which have an annual turnover of £6bn.
The firm manufactures aircraft wing in Broughton, north Wales, where it employs 6,000 people. A further 3,000 people work at the Airbus design and engineering site in Filton, Bristol.
Airbus has repeatedly expressed serious concerns about Brexit and a year ago, the then-Airbus chief executive Tom Enders warned the aerospace firm could pull out of the UK if there is a no-deal Brexit.
The group said adjusted operating profits, excluding the bribery settlement and other one-offs, rose 19% to €6.9bn last year and were expected to reach €7.5bn in 2020. Its forecast assumes there are no major disruptions to the global economy and air traffic, including from the coronavirus.
“We achieved a great deal in 2019,” said the Airbus chief executive, Guillaume Faury, who took over from Enders in April. “The level of confidence in our ability to continue to deliver sustainable growth going forward has led to a dividend proposal of €1.80 per share. Our focus in 2020 will be on reinforcing our company culture, improving operationally, and adjusting our cost structure to strengthen the financial performance and prepare for the future.”