Airbus Expects Orders For 300 Planes

AMSTERDAM (AP) -- EADS, the owner of Airbus, said Wednesday it expects orders for 300 planes in 2009 and repeated other financial forecasts.

European Aeronautics Defense and Space Co. has headquarters in Germany and France and is incorporated in the Netherlands.

Speaking at the company's annual shareholders meeting, Chief Executive Louis Gallois said the company still expects to meet earlier forecasts for 300 orders "even if it's becoming more and more challenging in the current market environment."

He said sales would be flat in 2009 compared with 2008 levels, and operating profit would fall but remain positive -- excluding possible charges for its troubled A400M military transport plane.

The company's margins are being hurt by higher research and development costs, falling sales prices and as customers negotiate for help in financing purchases, Gallois said.

"While we have seen several contract cancellations at Airbus and Eurocopter for example, these have been more than offset by new orders," Gallois said.

"The pace of deliveries thus far shows no deviation from our internal projections."

Earlier this month the company reported a 40 percent fall in first-quarter earnings to euro170 million ($236 million), while sales fell 14 percent to euro8.5 billion.

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