A pilot walks up the gangway of the Airbus A350X WB Alexander Hassenstein, Getty Images

FINANCIAL ROUNDUP: Airbus Net Profits Take off in Second Quarter

ExxonMobil earnings drop along with crude oil prices ... Honda net profits jump close to 20%, too ... Sharp continues to struggle, casting doubt on it survival.

PARIS — Airbus Group’s net profits climbed 34% in the first half of the year to 1.5 billion euros ($1.66 billion), bolstered by the sale of its stake in fighter jet maker Dassault Aviation, the European aeronautics giant said Friday.

The group’s results included a charge of 290 million euros ($320.99 million) related to the Airbus A400M military transporter program, which suffered a setback after one of the airlifters crashed during a test flight near the Spanish city of Seville in May, killing four people.

The costs incurred by the accident, which saw the A400M briefly grounded, were offset by a net gain of 748 million euros ($827.92 million) from the sale of the group’s 18.75% share in business and fighter plane constructor Dassault Aviation. Group revenues were up 6% compared with the same period in 2014 to 28.9 billion euros ($31.99 billion), buoyed by strong sales of commercial aircraft.

EXXONMOBIL: NEW YORK — ExxonMobil reported Friday second-quarter earnings plunged by more than 50% following the big drop in crude oil prices. Earnings came in at $4.2 billion, down 52.3% from the year-ago period and the weakest quarterly profit since 2009. Revenues fell 33.4% to $74.1 billion. The results reflected the impact of a big drop in oil prices in the second quarter to a range of about $45-60 a barrel, compared with more than $90 a barrel in the equivalent period in 2014. 

Earnings in the upstream business, which explores for and produces crude oil, dived about 75% to $2.0 billion. However, a bright spot was an increase in upstream output of 3.6% to 2.3 million barrels a day.

Results were boosted by higher profits in both downstream and chemicals, which are based in part on crude oil as an input. Earnings in downstream more than doubled to $1.5 billion, while profits in chemicals rose 48.1% to $1.2 billion.

HONDA: TOKYO — Honda said Friday that net profit in April-June jumped nearly 20% as strong sales in North America and a weak yen helped offset the impact of an exploding air-bag crisis.

The Civic maker’s bottom-line profit came to 186 billion yen ($1.50 billion) for the three months, up from 155.6 billion yen ($1.26 billion) a year earlier, while sales jumped 15.5% to 3.7 trillion yen ($29.91 billion). Operating profit rose 16.4%, as a sharp drop in Japan’s currency benefits exporters such as Honda by making them more competitive overseas and inflating repatriated earnings.

Japan’s No. 3 automaker left its fiscal-year forecast unchanged at a net profit of 525 billion ($4.24 billion) yen on sales of 14.5 trillion yen ($117.22 billion).

SHARP: TOKYO — Japanese electronics giant Sharp said Friday its net loss widened in April-June as it struggles through a painful restructuring and weak sales of display screens and smartphones.

The Osaka-based firm reported a 33.98 billion yen ($274.70 million) shortfall in the first fiscal quarter, much more than the 1.79 billion yen ($14.47 billion) in the same period last year. However, it kept a target of 80 billion yen ($646.73 million) in operating profit on sales of 2.8 trillion yen ($22.64 billion) for the 12 months through March 2016. It did not give a net profit target, citing uncertain restructuring costs.

Earlier this year, Sharp said it was cutting 10% of its 49,000 positions worldwide as part of a turnaround plan intended to keep it afloat after posting a bigger-than-expected $1.86 billion annual loss.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015

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