Boeing earnings soar past estimates

It's not Apple, but the aircraft maker's first-quarter results will certainly help regain investors' trust.

By Jonathan Berr Apr 25, 2012 10:41AM

Remember when Boeing (BA) was a basket case caught in a never-ending series of delays for the 787 Dreamliner? Those days are over.

Net income for the Chicago company zoomed in the first quarter, gaining 58% to $923 million, or $1.22 per share, versus $586 million, or 78 cents, a year earlier. Revenue soared 30% to $19.4 billion as it won awards for its new 737 MAX and a deal for 84 new F-15s from Saudi Arabia. Wall Street forecasts were for profit of 94 cents on revenue of $18.4 billion.

Shares of the aerospace company climbed more than 4% in early morning trading. They have barely budged this year. Boeing raised its 2012 earnings guidance to between $4.15 to $4.35 and affirmed its revenue and operating cash flow outlook. There is plenty of room for Boeing to run. Analysts have an average price target of $85 on the stock, well above the $75.43 where it traded recently.

Boeing delivered its first Dreamliner, the first aircraft made of composites instead of aluminum, in September, following more than three years of delays. Regaining the trust of investors, who were badly burned by the 787's problems, will not be easy though. Wednesday's earnings report will certainly help mend those fences.

During the quarter, Boeing booked 412 net orders, including 301 firm orders for the 737 Max, which the company claims will provide customers "a 10-12 percent fuel-burn improvement over today's most fuel efficient single-aisle airplanes and a 7 percent operating cost per-seat advantage over tomorrow's competition." Deliveries for the aircraft, which has more than 1,000 orders, will begin in 2017.

Boeing Commercial Airplanes revenue surged 54% to $10.9 billion, fueled by 32% gain in deliveries. Earnings from operations were $1.08 billion. The company delivered the first two GEnx-powered 787s and the first 747-8 Intercontinental VIP airplane in the quarter. It delivered 137 jetliners last quarter, beating Airbus SAS, which delivered 131 planes. High oil prices and financing concerns are not deterring Boeing, which is boosting output by more than 60% through 2014.

First quarter revenue at Boeing's Defense, Space & Security rose 8% to $8.2 billion. Earnings rose 11% to $742 million, helped by wins such as a logistics contract for South Korea's F-15 fleet. Overseas contracts will be key for Boeing as defense contractors face steep cuts in the Pentagon's budget. Boeing, whose ties to the space program stretch back decades, also is dealing with spending declines at NASA.

Jonathan Berr does not own shares of the listed companies. Follow him on Twitter@jdberr

Tags: BA
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