PARIS – The Airbus group acknowledged on Tuesday it had not fulfilled regulatory requirements in the United States, while reporting its third quarter results, which were well received by the market.
Finance Director Harald Wilhelm said in a teleconference that Airbus had informed US authorities in late 2016 about inaccuracies in filings made to the Department of State about arms export contracts.
Wilhelm added that the company had not revealed any US military secrets and continued to function normally under its export license.
A few months ago, the European aerospace giant had admitted irregularities to authorities in the United Kingdom, about reporting the action of intermediaries in various contracts, which it was obliged to do in exchange of export aid it received from the government.
UK’s anti-fraud agency, the Serious Fraud Office, and its French equivalent Parquet National Financier have opened investigations into Airbus which, in turn, said that the possible consequences of these probes will be known soon.
There have been speculations about a possible cancellation of the company’s operating licenses due to the legal uncertainty, something which could seriously harm the company, apart from the possibility of fines between 1-6 billion euros ($1.10 billion-$7 billion).
To put this into perspective, Airbus said today in its results that it had liquid assets of worth 6.7 billion euros on Sept. 30, a fall of 40 percent compared to the end of 2016.
In this period (Jan.-Sept. 2017), its net profit grew 2 percent to 1.85 million euros, mainly due to revaluation of financial instruments and items on the balance sheet.
While the net operating profit fell by 2 percent to 2.31 billion euros, and by 25 percent in cyclically-adjusted terms, down to 1.79 billion euros.
The downfall is mainly a result of serious problems in the engines of the A320neo series, leading to huge delays in its delivery to Airbus clients.
Despite these troubles, Airbus has maintained its goal of delivering more than 700 commercial airplanes to clients in 2017, something which depends on the engine manufacturers fulfilling their commitments.
The markets, which had anticipated a worse scenario for Airbus, reacted favorably to the report, with Airbus making the biggest gains by far at the Paris Stock Exchange on Tuesday, registering a rise of 4.07 percent until 12:30 pm.