Boeing profit climbs in 2Q on strong defense sales

July 22, 2009 6:57:46 AM PDT
Boeing Co. said Wednesday its second-quarter earnings rose 17 percent from a year earlier, when a charge weighed down results. Higher defense sales and lower costs bolstered the company's profit in the latest period. The Chicago-based company also said it would announce a revised schedule for its long-delayed 787 jetliner in the third quarter. Boeing's credibility suffered a serious blow last month when it announced the latest of several costly delays of the plane's inaugural test flight.

Boeing, the world's second-largest commercial plane maker, said it earned $998 million, or $1.41 per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $852 million, or $1.16 per share, during the same period last year, which included a charge of 22 cents per share for late delivery of military aircraft.

Revenue edged up 1 percent to $17.15 billion from $16.96 billion in the year-earlier period. Sales for its defense unit - which accounts for roughly half Boeing's overall revenue - rose 9 percent to $8.7 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, on average, had expected a profit of $1.21 per share on revenue of $17.15 billion. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items.

The company reiterated its 2009 profit forecast of $4.70 to $5 per share. Boeing reduced its forecast in April, citing lower expected profit at its commercial aircraft division. Analysts expect profit of $4.52 per share.

Boeing and its European archrival Airbus are grappling with lower orders as the global recession undercuts demand for air travel and cargo services. Some airlines have been forced to cancel or delay plans to buy new planes.

To cope, Boeing has unveiled cost-cutting measures in recent months, including plans to slash 10,000 jobs and scale back production of some planes.

In the second quarter, the company's commercial plane deliveries slipped by just one plane, to 125. Boeing receives payment for planes when they are delivered.

The company said it booked 57 new orders during the quarter, while 52 others were canceled. Boeing built up a hefty backlog during three years of booming demand that ended last year, when orders plunged. It said Wednesday the backlog was valued at $328 billion. That's down from $339 billion at the end of March.

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