EADS 2011 Net Profits Leap; CEO Slams German 'Interference'

EADS, which owns Airbus and helicopter group Eurocopter, said its 2011 net profits jumped 87% to 1.03 billion euros ($1.37 billion).

European aerospace group EADS NV on Thursday reported a 2011 profit jump that surpassed expectations, gave an ambitious outlook for this year and warned Germany against "external interference."

The Netherlands-based EADS, which owns Airbus and helicopter group Eurocopter, said its 2011 net profits jumped 87% to 1.03 billion euros ($1.37 billion).

The group also issued an ambitious outlook for this year, while CEO Louis Gallois warned Germany that EADS will continue to be managed "without external interference."

Gallois was responding to a letter written last month by the German government's coordinator for aerospace activities urging EADS to readjust industrial and executive activities that have a growing focus in France.

"This letter is not appropriate," Gallois said during a press conference, at which he also commented on the group's annual results.

"This letter is not in accordance with governance of listed companies," the EADS chief executive emphasized, adding: "We have to take our decisions without external interference."

Unlike France, Germany does not own a direct stake in EADS (European Aeronautic Defence and Space Co.). The aerospace group, which also has extensive activities in the defense sector, said sales gained 7% to 49.1 billion euros ($65 billion) and its operating profits reached 1.8 billion euros ($2.4 billion), a gain of 34%.

The group expects to raise that figure to 2.5 billion euros ($3.31 billion) this year, which would represent a further increase of 40%, and forecasts a 6% increase in sales.

New orders were 58% higher in 2011, at 131 billion euros ($173.4 billion), and raised total EADS orders to 540 billion euros ($714.9 billion), the equivalent of more than seven years of activity.

CM-CIC analyst Haralf Liberge-Dondoux commented that the annual results were "clearly above expectations."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2012

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