Aero-space giant EADS has turned in sharply higher profits, crediting a strong performance from its Airbus aircraft-making subsidiary.
Airbus sold more plans than Boeing last year
EADS said net profits for the first half of 2004 came in at 387m euros ($466m ; £251m), up from a 66m euro loss in the same period last year.
The figure comfortably outstripped the 319m euros pencilled in by forecasters.
Sales were also higher, climbing to 14.5 billion euros from 13 billion last year, an increase of 12%.
Airbus flies high
The firm's improved results partly reflect a strong order book at Airbus, the main rival to Boeing in the commercial aircraft market.
Airbus, 80% owned by EADS and 20% by BAE Systems, chalked up operating profits of 982m euros, up from 621m last time.
The company, which is due to launch its much-fancied A380 wide-bodied passenger jet in 2005, said it was on track to deliver more than 305 aircraft this year, compared with 284 in 2003.
Airbus, which sold more jets than Boeing for the first time last year, hopes to repeat the achievement in 2004.
EADS also benefited from a better performance at its space division, where first-half losses narrowed to 11m euros from 131m last year.