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Exclusive Airbus calls for European ministerial meeting on A400M

Airbus (AIR. PA) has called for a European ministerial meeting to address the latest problems engulfing the A400M military plane, saying its own viability is at stake as it seeks government help to contain fresh losses on Europe's largest defense project. The move comes a day after Airbus took a fresh writedown of 1.2 billion euros against A400M losses and urged seven NATO buyer nations to limit its exposure to heavy fines and payment delays caused by new technical snags and delays. In a letter to government buyers, the company spoke of "significant risks ahead" on the project, originally valued at 20 billion euros and now costing well over 30 billion euros, according to two people familiar with the letter's contents."We are committed to the A400M program. However we are responsible to sustain the viability of Airbus," said the letter signed by Airbus Chairman Denis Ranque and Chief Executive Tom Enders and sent to the capitals of Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, Spain and Turkey and the UK. Noting "huge losses" on the project, Airbus called for a meeting of ministers of those nations to take stock of the situation and agree on next steps in the best interests of the program, government customers and Europe's defense industry. It also called for talks with Europrop International (EPI), the consortium responsible for providing the troop carrier's turboprop engines, which have been involved in some delays.

EPI is owned by France's Safran (SAF. PA), Britain's Rolls-Royce (RR. L), Germany's MTU Aero Engines (MTXGn. DE) and Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP) of Spain. An Airbus spokeswoman declined comment on Thursday on details of the company's contacts with governments, but said there would be three elements to any discussions: the nations, the OCCAR pan-European procurement agency and the engine makers.

Engine consortium EPI could not immediately be reached for comment. A spokesman for OCCAR had said on Wednesday the agency was in regular and ongoing dialogue with Airbus, but declined comment on the company's request for new measures. Airbus received a 3.5 billion euro bailout from the seven core purchasing nations in 2010, but has suggested it did not go far enough in limiting the company's financial exposure.

Powell, keeping cards close, says Fed to gradually hike rates NEW YORK The Federal Reserve is set to gradually raise interest rates as long as the U.S. economy continues on its current path, and there is yet no sign it is being too slow to respond as inflation heads higher, an influential Fed governor said on Wednesday.

UPDATE 3-Dish Network profit tops estimates on surprise subscriber additions Feb 22 U.S. satellite TV provider Dish Network Corp reported a better-than-expected profit and added pay-TV subscribers in the fourth quarter as more customers signed up for its lower-priced Sling TV streaming service.

Airbus seeks new European help over A400M costs PARIS Airbus called on Wednesday for new talks with European governments to ease "heavy penalties" for delays to its A400M military aircraft, after taking a fresh 1.2 billion euro ($1.3 billion) charge for Europe's largest defense project.

HP Inc reports 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue

HP Inc (HPQ. N), which houses the hardware business of former Hewlett-Packard Co, reported a 3.6 percent rise in quarterly revenue, largely helped by a stabilizing PC market. However, the company's net earnings from continuing operations fell to $611 million in the first quarter ended Jan. 31, from $650 million a year earlier. The company's earnings per share from continuing operations remained flat at 36 cents.

Revenue rose to $12.68 billion from $12.25 billion.

Apple says new California headquarters to open in April Apple's sprawling new campus, dubbed "Apple Park," will open in April, the iPhone maker said on Wednesday.

Fitbit forecasts current-quarter revenue below estimates Fitbit Inc forecast lower-than-expected revenue for the current quarter, underscoring the wearable device maker's struggles with waning demand for its fitness tracking bands in a maturing market.

British, Canadian regulators agree to assist fintechs TORONTO British and Canadian regulators have signed an agreement to make it easier for financial technology companies to expand in each other's markets, they said on Wednesday.