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Airbus Enders set for second term as company weighs A400M impact

[TOULOUSE] Airbus Group NV asked Chief Executive Officer Tom Enders to stay on for another term when his mandate ends, as the CEO sought to reassure investors that a recent crash of an A400M military aircraft won't jeopardize his earnings goals.

Mr Enders's term as a board director will expire in 2016, and he requires re-appointment in that role to extend his role as CEO, Chairman Denis Ranque told shareholders at the annual general meeting in Amsterdam on Wednesday. The CEO was appointed for five years in 2012.

Mr Enders, 56, has focused his first term at the helm on making Airbus a company more accessible to shareholders, with Daimler AG and Lagardere SCA of France pulling out and Germany and France capping their stakes at 12 per cent. The German executive has also sought to turn around the military division, cutting thousands of jobs, as Airbus relies increasingly on the fortunes of its commercial-jet operations.

The company suffered a recent setback when an A400M military airliner crashed on a test flight as it approached delivery. Mr Enders said on Wednesday he's confident that even with the accident the company will manage to delivery the number of planes promised to customers.

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After delivering eight A400Ms in 2014, Airbus had pledged to hand over 14 planes this year, saying it might deliver an additional four if certain technical specifications are met. Spanish aviation regulators have forced Airbus to call off flight tests of A400Ms coming off the production line until the cause of the crash, which killed four people, is uncovered. Mr Enders said the two survivors of the crash are recovering.

Airbus's target for this year is to increase sales and "slightly" lift operating profit before one-time items. Aircraft deliveries should be slightly higher than in 2014 and the commercial-aircraft order book is also set to grow.