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Airbus Group profits up 34% in first half 2015

[PARIS] Airbus Group's net profits climbed 34 per cent in the first half of the year to 1.5 billion euros (S$2.2 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 related to the Airbus A400M military transporter programme, 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 from the sale of the group's 18.75 per cent share in business and fighter plane constructor Dassault Aviation.

"The half-year underlying results reflect our continued focus on programme execution and operational efficiency," said Airbus Group chief executive Tom Enders in a statement.

"Revenues, profitability and cash generation all improved, and the overall financial performance means we are on track to deliver our 2015 guidance." Group revenues were up six percent compared with the same period in 2014 to 28.9 billion euros, buoyed by strong sales of commercial aircraft.

Airbus received 348 net orders for commercial planes in the first six months, compared with 290 for the first half of 2014.

Meanwhile, the value of the orders booked by Airbus Defence and Space was up 40 per cent.

Airbus is aiming for higher revenues and a slight increase in net profits this year. The group also hopes to increase its earnings per share and dividends.