CEO Guillaume Faury stated that safety has been a major concern in the industry. He made the comments during the company’s earnings news conference after it reported a loss of 1.36 billion euros ($1.48 billion) in 2019 due to a multibillion-euro bribery settlement with officials in three countries.
The company otherwise observed a record year of aircraft deliveries and boosted its dividend.
Operating earnings without one-time burdens increased by 19% to 6.9 billion euros. The company stated Thursday it would propose a dividend of 1.80 euros each share, increasing 9% from 2017. Revenues increased 11% to 70.5 billion euros as the company boosted production of its A320 twinjet.
Faury referred to it as “a strong underlying financial performance” while agreeing that “of course we cannot be satisfied” regarding the net loss.
He said that “it might look like a paradox, but in the short term we do not benefit from the situation with a competitor”, concerning the benefit shared by Airbus from Boeing’s problems.
“It has to do with safety, and safety is paramount for the industry. This is among the things we all have in common.”
He added that “we cannot take advantage on the 320. We are sold out through 2025 roughly and therefore we cannot step in to offset the needs of airline customers that will not be fulfilled” because of the grounding of the MAX.
Airbus saw deliveries of 863 commercial aircraft, increasing from 800 in the year earlier. The company increased orders to 768 as rival Boeing stumbled due to the grounding of the 737 MAX jet following two crashes that killed 346 people. Boeing’s net orders were negative given the cancellations and the bankruptcy of a significant customer, India’s Jet Airways, and came in at minus 87.
The large net loss showed 3.6 billion euros set aside to cover a criminal settlement with officials in the U.S., France and Britain over past corrupt practices. The company lost 1.2 billion euros as well because of problems with its A400M military transport program and 221 million euros as the German government suspended export licenses to Saudi Arabia through March.
Airbus is headquartered in the Netherlands but has its main base located in Toulouse, France, and factories there and in Hamburg, Germany, Seville, Spain, Tianjin, China, and Mobile, Alabama, in the U.S. It also works on military aircraft, helicopters, and satellites.