Airbus eyes customer financing amid euro crisis

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GMT - 3 Hours Airbus eyes customer financing amid euro crisis

Post by ĽĭÓń ĤéĂѓŦ on Fri Oct 07, 2011 5:46 pm

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SYDNEY: Global aviation giant Airbus on Thursday said it would consider financing help for customers to defend its market against the eurozone's wobbles and was in talks with European credit agencies.

The comments came as the International Monetary Fund warned of a eurozone recession, with banks -- headed by French-Belgian lender Dexia -- now facing collapse over bad exposure to sovereign debts.

Tom Williams, vice president of programmes, said Airbus had not seen any immediate impact from the worsening eurozone debt crisis but aircraft financing was a key issue facing the aviation industry.

"The European banks have been in the past few years active in terms of aircraft finance ... and clearly there will be some question marks if you look at the euro crisis today and the liquidity position of some of the big banks," Williams told a markets briefing in Sydney.

"We will if necessary enter into some financing although we're not a bank," he added.

"Of course that's just an insurance (policy) and it has a cost, but it does allow the airlines to go into the market with a strong guarantee and to raise money."

During the 2008 crisis Williams said Airbus had the benefit of "strong support from the European export credit agencies" (ECAs) and it would seek similar help if needed during the current turmoil to shore up customers.

"I think we will look again to the ECAs, and we've been fairly active in talking to them all in the past few weeks," he said.

About one-third of Airbus deliveries during the previous crisis had "some kind of ECA guarantee" and Williams said a similar situation may again arise.

"It's down at the moment to about 21-22 percent and it may have to go back up again so that's probably one of the issues," he said.

"We'll look at our own position and if necessary do some selective financing."

Williams said Airbus, a division of European aerospace major EADS, would also maintain steady production levels, preferring to build up a backlog of aircraft rather than letting skills and capability lapse.

In a stark warning IMF Europe director Antonio Borges said a recession in 2012 "can't be ruled out" and the best Europe could hope for was "very modest" growth as nervous investors became far more risk-averse. (AFP)
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