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EADS quarterly earnings beat forecasts

An A380 aircraft is seen through a window with an Airbus logo during the EADS / Airbus 'New Year Press Conference' in Hamburg January 17, 20
An A380 aircraft is seen through a window with an Airbus logo during the EADS / Airbus 'New Year Press Conference' in Hamburg January 17, 20

PARIS (Reuters) - Europe's EADS unveiled stronger-than-expected third-quarter earnings boosted by planemaker unit Airbus on Thursday and reaffirmed its financial targets, in a back-to-basics presentation following the failure of merger talks with BAE.

Tom Enders, chief executive of the world's second largest aerospace firm after Boeing , pledged to put "strong emphasis" on cash generation and ensuring that deliveries of Airbus passenger jets remained on course in the final quarter.

EADS maintained forecasts of an increase of at least 10 percent in revenues and expected to deliver a 2012 operating profit of 2.7 billion euros. It aimed for a "breakeven" in free cash flow for the full year, with the language toned down from a "positive" cashflow forecast embedded in its half-year results.

In its first trading update since calling off plans to merge with Britain's BAE Systems last month, the Franco-German-led company said its key A350 aircraft program remained challenging despite resolution of a wing production problem.

It posted a 67 percent rise in third-quarter operating profit to 537 million euros on sales of 12.324 billion euros, up 15 percent, compared with average analyst forecasts of 454 million operating profit and revenues of 11.853 billion.

EADS took a 76 million euro charge for the failure of U.S. aircraft manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft.

(Reporting by Tim Hepher, Cyril Altmeyer)

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