Airbus shows loss for 2019 due to big bribery settlement

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FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) – Commercial aircraft maker Airbus lost 1.36 billion euros ($1.48 billion) in 2019 because of a multibillion-euro bribery settlement with authorities in three countries, but otherwise saw a record year of aircraft deliveries and increased its dividend.

Operating earnings without one-time burdens rose 19% to 6.9 billion euros. The company said Thursday it would propose a dividend of 1.80 euros per share, up 9% from 2017. Revenues rose 11% to 70.5 billion euros as the company ramped up production of its A320 twinjet.

CEO Guillaume Faury called it “a strong underlying financial performance” while acknowledging that “of course we cannot be satisfied” with the net loss.

Airbus saw deliveries of 863 commercial aircraft, up from 800 in the year before. The company boosted orders to 768 as competitor Boeing stumbled because of the grounding of its 737 MAX jet after two crashes that killed 346 people. Boeing’s net orders were negative because of cancellations and the bankruptcy of a large customer, India’s Jet Airways, and came in at minus 87.

The large net loss reflected 3.6 billion euros set aside to cover a criminal settlement with authorities in the U.S., France and Britain over past corrupt practices. The company also lost 1.2 billion euros because of troubles with its A400M military transport program and 221 million euros because the German government suspended export licenses to Saudi Arabia through March.

Airbus is legally headquartered in the Netherlands but has its main base in Toulouse, France, and factories there and in Hamburg, Germany, Seville, Spain, Tianjin, China, and Mobile, Alabama, in the U.S. It also makes military aircraft, helicopters and satellites.

FILE – In this June 18, 2015, file photo, an Airbus A380 takes off for its demonstration flight at the Paris Air Show in Le Bourget airport, north of Paris. Commercial airliner maker Airbus is releasing 2019 earnings on Thursday, Feb. 12. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, file)
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