EADS held an investors Day this week; here are takes from two who attended.
Airbus presentations may be found here.
EADS is holding its annual Global Investor Forum. We describe key themes from Day 1, which focused on EADS overall and Airbus. A key message we took away was that EADS is headed toward governance changes that should make it a more normal company.
We now expect reduced government involvement with independent directors becoming the majority on the board. The free float is planned to rise from 49% to 70%. Although the sale of shares may depress the stock in the near term, long term it is positive.
Margin upside remains the key value driver for EADS, with higher margins likely on A320 and A330 from cost reduction and pricing. A380 performance appears to be improving. We see the main risk as the A350 production ramp in H2 2013.
Summary. We attended the EADS Global Investor Forum in the UK. Given that Airbus is the primary competitor to Boeing in manufacturing large commercial aircraft, its outlook is important to the suppliers in our coverage universe. Overall, we believe the key highlights of the forum on day 1 were 1) demand for airplanes remains strong as Airbus now says 2014 is overbooked for A320 2) the A350 and A320neo developments remain on track 3) Airbus has about 300 A320 current engine option airplane slots to sell in 2016-2017 that could see some pricing pressure and 4) Airbus is intently focused on reducing its costs which could lead to some pricing pressure for suppliers. In particular, Airbus highlighted Spirit Aerosystems as a supplier that has been challenged on the A350. For the suppliers in our coverage universe, we believe the positive commentary on a stronger 2014 and the order backlog should give investors increased confidence in Boeing and Airbus production ramp ups despite recent economic weakness. In addition, while Airbus has focused on reducing costs, we believe pricing pressure has been continuous for the suppliers in our coverage universe and do not expect substantial changes in the profitability of work for Airbus. We continue to be positive on the commercial aerospace suppliers based on the OEM upturn.
A350XWB. Airbus confirmed its schedule on the aircraft with first flight in mid-2013 and entry into service in H2 2014. We do not know how many aircraft Airbus plans to deliver in 2014, but the company did say that one of its two launch customers, Singapore Airlines, has shifted its planned aircraft deliveries into 2015 leaving only Cathay Pacific to receive the aircraft in 2014.
A320neo. Airbus continues to highlight its re-engined narrow body A320neo as superior to Boeing’s 737MAX. The company believes that its larger fan size allows total cash operating costs to be 3.3% better than the 737MAX. Boeing of course calculates different economics and can show its offering is superior to the A320neo. Airbus said it has about 300 open delivery slots for the current generation A320 aircraft before production transitions to the A320neo in 2017. Not surprisingly, most of these appear to be at the end of A320ceo production in 2016-2017. The company said that its 2013 and 2014 delivery slots are now fully booked (and 2015 is nearly so), an improvement from the company’s Q3 earnings conference call when there were still 2014 delivery slots available.
Backlog Growth in 2013. Airbus has about 7.5 years worth of production at planned rates (similar to Boeing’s production in backlog). Management thinks this long backlog has reduced the cyclicality of the airplane manufacturing business since 2004. On the other hand, Boeing has said it desires to reduce its backlog such that it can deliver airplanes on a more timely basis to customers.
Focus On Cost Reduction Could Mean Pricing Pressures For Suppliers. Airbus is targeting a 10% EBIT margin by 2015 (excluding A350 losses and the impact of a weaker Euro) and is aggressively looking to take out costs. As part of its cost reduction efforts, Airbus will have reorganized its plant management process beginning in January 2013. The new structure empowers plant managers with increased authority to manage production problems. At the same time, Airbus has implemented a single procurement organization to more effectively and efficiently manage the costs of the supply chain.
Boeing 737-800: Wells Fargo’s aerospace analyst team issued a note today that confirms its previous calculations that American Airlines is paying $40m-$41m for its 737-800s.
Update, August 1: We received this note from Wells Fargo: What was confirmed was AA’s SELLING price to AerCap and ILFC, NOT what AA is paying.
American Airlines: AirInsight has this analysis of the current American Airlines situation.
Speaking of American: Flight Global has this story about how an American 767-300ER and a Ryanair 737-800 brushed each other on the ground all pilots were unaware and both airplanes took off.
One more American: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer has this series of 49 photos and airline liveries, past and present, starting with American.
And then there is Alaska Airlines: A passenger snapped this photo on an Alaska Airlines flight. Via NYCAviation’s Tweet.
In a new research note issued today, Wells Fargo estimates that Southwest Airlines paid a based price of $34.7m each for the Boeing 737-8 MAX.
The investment bank published the following table, followed by the text:
Prior to Southwest Airlines’ decision to defer 30 Boeing 737-800 deliveries from 2012-13 to 2017-18, it
published the data above in its latest 10-Q. We estimate that (after factoring in PDPs) SWA is paying ~$5.67B for the 131 MAXs in 2019-2022, or $43.3M each; assuming an average of nine years of price escalation at 2.5%/year, the base price would be $34.7M – a 64% discount off the 737MAX-8 list price. We do not view this as an indication of a “price war” between Boeing and Airbus, as SWA is a priority 737 operator that was certain to receive the most favorable MAX launch-customer pricing.
This is a somewhat deeper discount than we thought: 60%. If true, we can say that discounts of 60% for top customers are not unknown, even if they are not common. We understand Boeing is currently offering the MAX at discounts in excess of 50% but we can’t nail it down any closer than this.
Airbus likewise is known to offer discounts of up to 60% on the A320 family.
So what about the “price war?” Our information is that this extends to the 737NG and the A320ceo. Airbus and Boeing have each connected sales of the current generation of airplanes to the re-engined models in part to sustain current and announced production rates and to prevent a drop in cash in the run-up to EIS of the new airplanes. This means dropping the price on the current generation to help. (Separately, this also means drops in lease rates and residual values.)
Then there is the competition for only current generation aircraft, such as last year’s Delta Air Lines order for 100 -900ERs over the A321. He heard straight away that this came down to a price war and Boeing won. After the Airbus win at American Airlines, there was no way Boeing was going to lose Delta, and we heard at the time Boeing under-priced Airbus by about 10%. (Recall, too, that Boeing under-priced EADS by 10% in the tanker competition.)
We are hearing United Airlines also came down to price. We expect this Boeing win to be announced before at at Farnborough.
Bernstein Research, in a note also issued today about the EADS first quarter earnings call, had this to say about a price war:
A320 pricing should be a near term strength, but long term risk. A320 pricing was described as
“above expectations” with no declines seen in 2011 orders, and premiums captured for the A320neo. In
contrast, Boeing has said that it sees Airbus pricing aggressively, with the result that narrowbody prices are being taken down for both the A320 and 737. We believe the answer lies somewhere in the middle with certain customers (e.g. American, Norwegian Air Shuttle) driving aggressive price competitions, but with reasonably solid A320 pricing elsewhere. Based on our customer discussions, however, we do not believe that either Airbus or Boeing is capturing significant premiums for their reengined models (only relative to lower prices for their current generation airplanes).
737 Cost, Not Pricing: Wells Fargo has this item about what American Airlines actually paid for the Boeing 737-800, as opposed to the list price: more than a 50% discount from $84.4m. Note that AerCap (AER) appears to have paid $40m per aircraft in a purchase-leaseback. One assumes American didn’t resell the aircraft for the price paid from Boeing but marked them up at least a little bit. We’ve heard AA’s cost was in the range of $35m but this is unconfirmed.
~$40MM Per 737, It Appears. Based on the change in YTD flight equipment additions, AER added $80MM in planes in Q4; since the only Q4 additions were two new 737-800s leased back to American Airlines, the 20-F implies a $40MM unit price. Also, based on changes in purchase commitments from 9/30/11, we believe the average 737-800 purchase price (over the remaining 33 planes as of year end) is ~$41MM. A new 737-800 typically appraises for ~$45MM.
Bob Crandall: The former CEO of American Airlines provides his usual candid views of the airline industry, of today’s American Airlines, and his greatest failure as CEO in this 30 minute video on the Charlie Rose program.
Spirit Aerosystems held an aerospace analyst day March 7 and several reports have already been issued. Given Spirit’s close association with Boeing 7-Series programs, we thought the following is useful information. Spirit is also a major supplier to Airbus on the A35, building sections of the composite fuselage at its North Carolina facilities.