RPT-Airbus plans jet output hike as profits rise
TOULOUSE, France Feb 26 (Reuters) - Europe's Airbus Group announced plans to hike passenger jet production almost 10 percent to keep up with record demand as it took charges on its newest jet and unveiled slightly higher-than-expected core profits on Wednesday.
Europe's largest aerospace group, previously known as EADS, said it would increase production of its best-selling A320 jet family to 46 aircraft a month by the second quarter of 2016 from the current 42, echoing plans by rival Boeing to reach towards 47 a month.
Airbus Group's widely watched operating profit before one-off items rose 21 percent to 3.6 billion euros ($4.94 billion), it said in a statement. Revenue rose 5 percent to 59.3 billion.
Net profit also rose 22 percent to 1.5 billion euros after charges of 434 million related to higher costs on its newest jet, the A350, and 292 million driven mainly by restructuring of Airbus defence and space activities.
Analysts were on average expecting group operating profit before one-off items of 3.52 billion euros on sales of 58.724 billion, according to a Reuters survey. Net profit was seen up 29.5 percent at 1.59 billion.
Airbus Group had forecast core operating earnings of 3.5 billion euros and negative free cash flow of 1.5 billion.
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