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Boeing profit jumps as commercial plane sales soar

CNBC With Reuters
Wednesday, 24 Jul 2013 | 10:18 AM ET
Jim McNerney, president and CEO of The Boeing Company on Mad Money.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC
Jim McNerney, president and CEO of The Boeing Company on Mad Money.

Boeing posted a better-than-expected 13 percent jump in quarterly profit after delivering more commercial jets, shrugging off concerns about the 787 Dreamliner and sending its shares up 1.6 percent to an all-time high.

The company also raised its full-year revenue forecast, thanks to $40 billion in new orders and the launch of the Dreamliner 787-10.

Boeing faced fresh problems earlier this month when a parked Ethiopian Airlines 787 caught fire in London's Heathrow airport. The aircraft was grounded earlier this year due to the overheating of lithium-ion back-up batteries. Regulators cleared the jets to fly again in April.

After the earnings announcement, the company's shares rose in pre-market trading. (Click here to get the latest quotes for Boeing shares.)

(Read more: 787 fire: Investigators focus on key component)

Boeing's big beat
Earnings and revenue for Boeing beat Wall Street's expectations, and the company raised its guidance for the year, reports CNBC's Phil LeBeau. Commercial airplanes were the main driver.

Boeing said on Wednesday it completed the retrofit of 787 battery enhancements on previously delivered airplanes during the quarter and delivered 16 787 aircraft, up from six a year ago.

The company said it now expects full-year revenue of $83 billion to $86 billion, up from its previous guidance of $82 billion to $85 billion.

It forecast full-year earnings of $5.10 to $5.30 per share, up from its previous estimate of $5.00 to $5.20.

"As expected, second-quarter EPS beat, but even more impressive was BCA (Boeing Commercial Airplanes) margins exceeded expectations despite ramping deliveries of low margin 787s," Sterne Agee & Leach Inc analyst Peter Arment wrote on a research note.

Operating margins in the commercial airplanes unit rose to 10.7 percent in the quarter from 10.2 percent a year ago.

Boeing shares rose to a high of $109.49 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Wednesday.

Cash mountain

RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Stallard said the investor focus had switched to Boeing's cash outlook from "the usual slew of 787 questions."

"Although cash generation in 2Q was strong, we would have expected the company to have been more aggressive on the buyback in the quarter," Stallard wrote on a note to clients.

"Presumably this leaves plenty of firepower for future buybacks or dividend increases," he said.

Boeing reported free cashflow of $3.01 billion in the second quarter, significantly higher than the $552 million it reported a year earlier.

It reported net income of $1.09 billion, or $1.41 per share. Excluding items, it earned $1.67 per share.

(Read more: Despite fire, airlines flying Boeing Dreamliner)

Revenue rose 9 percent to $21.8 billion. Commercial aircraft revenue rose 15 percent in the quarter.

Analysts had expected $1.58 per share, excluding items, on revenue of $20.78 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue from Boeing's defense, space & security unit was flat, indicating growth in the quarter was driven by its commercial plane business.

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