EADS Raises Targets as Airbus Sales and Orders Climb

European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co. raised its target for 2010 profit and revenue as deliveries of passenger jets at its Airbus unit increase.

Sales will grow to more than 44 billion euros ($57 billion) from 42.8 billion euros in 2009 and adjusted earnings before interest and tax should reach about 1.2 billion euros, EADS, based in Paris and Munich, said today. The company had in March predicted Ebit of 1 billion euros and stagnant sales.

“This is positive,” said Eric Sharper, an analyst at Credit Agricole. “The market was looking for some kind of improvement in the guidance. Most analysts believed they were being a bit conservative, given the momentum we’ve been seeing in regard to new orders.”

Airbus, which contributes two-thirds of revenue at EADS, expects deliveries this year to reach 500 units, up from last year’s 498. The aircraft leasing industry is helping spearhead a recovery in demand as air travel rebounds from the slump caused by the financial crisis.

EADS jumped as much as 3.2 percent to 18.15 euros in Paris trading today and it traded at 18.13 euros as of 9:13 a.m. local time.

The general outlook at EADS has morphed from ”cautiously optimistic” to ”optimistic” in recent weeks amid signs that more people are traveling and paying higher fares to do it, Chief Financial Officer Hans Peter Ring said on a call today.

British Airways Plc today signaled an increase in ticket prices. The carrier’s yield, a measure of average fares, jumped almost 14 percent in the second quarter.

Positive Surprise

“We’re all surprised by the speed of the recovery,” Ring told journalists. ‘We’re seeing positive news from passenger and traffic growth, GDP data, and yesterday had figures from IATA that were very strong, showing traffic is at pre-crisis levels, with yields recovering,” he said, referring to average ticket prices. “The dollar is stronger and the financial sector has stabilized as well. All that is in the right direction.”

International scheduled traffic statistics for June showed continued growth, the International Air Transport Association said yesterday. Passenger demand was up 11.9 percent last month compared with the same month a year earlier, while international scheduled freight traffic showed a 26.5 percent improvement.

Acquisitions

Ring also reiterated that EADS is looking for acquisitions in services, defense and security, and could spend “several hundreds of millions” of euros on any given target. A cap of about 1 billion euros exists on purchases, he said.

No acquisition is “imminent” and it’s unlikely any deal will close this year except in a “best-case scenario,” he said.

EADS’s second-quarter earnings before interest and taxes, before goodwill impairment and exceptional items fell to 323 million euros from 656 million euros, the company said in an earlier statement. Net income fell 61 percent to 82 milion euros from 208 million euros while sales dropped 3 percent to 11.36 billion euros from 11.73 billion euros.

The adjusted EBIT figure of 1.2 billion euros excludes a negative foreign-exchange impact of 200 million euros.

To contact the reporter on this story: Andrea Rothman in Toulouse, France at aerothman@bloomberg.net.

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