Feb.27 - Airbus parent EADS predicts higher profit after stronger than expected 2012 earnings and a clampdown on costs but the development of its A350 jet remains a challenge, says CFO Harald Wilhelm. Hayley Platt reports
++NOTE TO EDITORS: REFEEDING SCRIPT WITH CORRECTED INTRO++ 3.5bln euros is today's daily digit - 2013's expected operating profit at EADS. The increase follows a 68 percent rise to 3bln euros last year and a clampdown on costs. Net profit also grew 19 percent. Harald Wilhelm is CFO of the world's second largest aerospace company. SOUNDBITE: Harald Wilhelm, CFO, EADS, saying (English): "We have a lot ahead of us which is why we prefer to be cautious about our outlook for 2013. However we have been making good progress for 2012 and up to now and on that basis, let's move forward." It was the aircraft manufacturer's first earnings since it failed to merge with BAE Systems. The attempted deal with the UK arms contractor led to a reorganisation of shareholders. The French and German governments retain a stake but ordinary investors now have a higher proportion of shares. SOUNDBITE: Harald Wilhelm, CFO, EADS, saying (English): "I think these are strong signals that this is turning into a normal company. Dividend proposal as you can see today and also the share buyback we want to do later this year." Airbus has also bounced back. Cracks in the wings of its A380 superjumbo were overshadowed by the battery problems rival Boeing had with its 787 Dreamliner. EADS said it had largely absorbed the costs of repairing and preventing the cracks although its new rival to the Dreamliner - the A350 - was proving "challenging". It's due to fly in the summer. EADS shares are already soaring - up eight percent after the results.