Airbus plans special dividend, takes new space charge

By Thomson Reuters Feb 14, 2024 | 11:57 PM

PARIS (Reuters) -Europe’s Airbus unveiled a special dividend on Thursday after posting higher 2023 results, buoyed by record airplane orders and higher deliveries but dampened by a fresh charge of 200 million euros ($214.62 million) in its troubled Space unit.

The world’s largest commercial planemaker said core adjusted operating profit rose 4% to 5.8 billion euros as revenue rose 11% to 65.4 billion, and predicted core profit of 6.5 to 7.0 billion euros in 2024.

Airbus proposed an unchanged regular dividend of 1.8 euros a share, and added a special dividend of 1 euro per share as net cash topped the 10-billion-euro threshold previously identified as a potential trigger for returning cash to shareholders.

Airbus, as expected, forecast around 800 jet deliveries for 2024 but announced a further delay in entry to service of its A321XLR single-aisle jet to the third quarter from the second.

The Space unit charge brings the total written off in that segment last year to 600 million euros and comes a day after Reuters reported that CEO Guillaume Faury had told staff that large, unexpected charges in the business were “not acceptable”.

Airbus is among European companies facing fierce competition from U.S. launchers and a new generation of low-cost satellites.

Faury, however, told staff in a letter last month that Airbus is better off with a high-performing Defence and Space business than without a presence in those areas.

($1 = 0.9319 euros)

(Reporting by Tim Hepher; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman)