EADS to change group name to Airbus

European Aeronautic, Defence & Space Co (EADS) will change entire group's name to Airbus to reflect the dominance of commercial aircraft and combined defense and space operations, to help tide over falling demand.

According to EADS, which today reported earnings that exceeded analysts' expectations, it would align itself along three divisions, including civil aircraft, helicopters and defence and space operations.

EADS was up 3.3 per cent to €45.75, the highest since 2000 when the company started trading.

According to commentators, the approach would see the whole group identified with the most recognisable brand ending a decade-long attempt to create a balance between Airbus and other operations.

Chief executive officer Tom Enders has since then reshaped the shareholder structure to cut cut political influence, and committed to give the company an investor-driven image.

Enders said, the renaming simply gathered the entire company under the best brand the group had. He added, moving defence and space together would create a 'one-stop shop for the air forces of the world.''

Earnings before interest and tax, goodwill impairment and exceptionals at EADS was up at €887 million from €724 million a year earlier, as sales rose 3 per cent to €13.95 billion.

Airbus' contribution to earnings stood at €637, rising from €391 million a year earlier as its sales increased 2 per cent to €9.74 billion.

According to commentators, the restyled "Airbus Group" aimed to sharpen efforts to double its margins by mid-decade to catch up with rival Boeing.

Eurocopter, the world's largest civil rotary aircraft maker, would continue to operate as a separate unit and would become Airbus Helicopters.

The core Airbus plane making business, making up around 70 per cent of group revenues, would keep its one-word name even though there had been suggestions earlier that it might gain a longer title emphasise the fact that it was a unit of a larger group.

According to analysts the cojnsolidation of operations could lead to some job losses. They say the rebranding would make it easier to consolidate national focused activities, especially in defence, but would leave little separation between the parent and main subsidiary, sharing both a name and headquarters city, Toulouse.

"The airbus" was first registered as part of a company name in Germany in 1965. It was a generic name given to European efforts to build a people-carrier jet around 50 years ago while  EADS - originally European Aeronautic Defence & Space Co - came onto the scene as the result of a merger of French, German and Spanish assets in 2000, including most of Airbus.