• By The Financial District

Airbus Resumes Dividend Payments After Notching Higher Profits

Airbus marked a turning point in its pandemic recovery with its first dividend in two years and higher profits from businesses including defense and space as the European group also confirmed a review of defense strategy on Thursday, Tim Hepher reported for Reuters.

Photo Insert: An Airbus A380

The world's largest civil planemaker predicted higher profit and deliveries for 2022 but cautioned that supply chain tensions and a spike in inflation remained challenges for now.

"The pandemic is not yet fully behind us," Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said while reiterating that the jet market would recover between 2023 and 2025. "It has been clear that people want to fly again and do so as soon as restrictions are relaxed."

The company, which also makes fighter jets and troop planes, also confirmed it was carrying out a review of its defense strategy after Reuters reported on Wednesday that its board was leading an exercise likely to open the door to more strategic partnerships.

Faury said that Airbus remains "committed to a strong position in defense" but declined to elaborate on the review, which he described as a regular exercise.

Airbus ended a two-year dividend drought after swinging to a record net profit of 4.213 billion euros ($4.8 billion) in 2021, boosted by the end of production of its A380 superjumbo and a partial reversal of earlier COVID-19 charges.

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The company proposed a dividend of 1.50 euros per share. Shares in Europe's largest aerospace company dipped 0.5% against a fractionally stronger market. Analysts said the results beat profit expectations, though some were disappointed that the company was predicting stable cash flow in 2022 after a sharp turnaround to 3.5 billion euros generated last year from a negative 6.8 billion euros the previous year.

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