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Tanker loss hits EADS

Tanker loss hits EADS
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More bad news for EADS, the parent company of planemaker Airbus. Its US partner Northrop Grumman has dropped out of the race to build a military mid-air refuelling tanker.

EADS said it would not consider a solo bid for the lucrative US Air Force contract, which leaves Boeing as the sole bidder.

That setback came as EADS posted a net loss for last year of 763 million euros.

It is a far cry from its almost 1.6 billion net profit in 2008.

Chief executive Louis Gallois seized on the good news, praising the high level of deliveries.

He told reporters: “We have been able to deliver 498 airplanes in 2009, and I want to congratulate Airbus for the way they have managed the deliveries in 2009. Nobody in this room was expecting that we could deliver 498 airplanes at the beginning of the year.”

But it did not deliver any of its A400M military transport planes and, because of delays and over-runs, EADS took a 1.8 billion euro provision.

However Gallois said last week’s agreement with the plane’s buyers to share those costs meant the project is “back on track.”