France’s Airbus group supplied a near tenfold increase in customer financing following a freeze in export credits from the UK, France and Germany earlier this year, in light of potential corruption and transparency issues.
In its half-yearly statement the company said it supplied €587mn of financing to customers compared to €63mn for the first half of 2015.
“This is temporary finance we are doing as we’re under suspension of export credit financing,” company CEO Tom Enders told analysts.
However, this is only 1% of total ECA financing received in 2015, reflecting that the market is liquid and competitive, he added.
In its half-yearly statement the company says “a process for the re-establishment of ECA financing has been agreed and is ongoing”, and that it was targeting ECA financing to resume in the fourth quarter of 2016.
In April this year, Airbus itself notified UK authorities about inaccuracies relating to applications for export credit financing for its customers. It said that it had discovered mistakes and omissions relating to information provided in respect to consultants and other third parties.
The admission led to a freeze on UK export financing and notification to the UK’s Serious Fraud Office. A freeze on export credit from France and Germany also followed suit. Since the major components of Airbus commercial aircraft are manufactured and assembled in France, Germany and the UK, the company has access to finance support from all three governments.
A spokesperson for UK Export Finance (UKEF) told GTR: “We are working closely with French and German export credit agencies. UKEF continues to work closely with Airbus to understand the extent of the matter and to seek assurances about its current compliance practices in relation to overseas agents.”
Commenting on the Airbus timeline, the spokesperson said the agency “hope(s) that this process can be quickly concluded and is working to resolve the matter as quickly as possible”.
Meanwhile, an SFO spokesperson said that a formal investigation has not been announced but the office is in discussions with Airbus.