Boeing Reports Strong Profit as Jet Demand Grows


Boeing said on Wednesday first-quarter profit rose a greater-than-expected 38 percent, helped by higher deliveries of its commercial planes.

Boeing Headquarters

The Chicago-based company, which vies with EADS unit Airbus in the lucrative jetliner market, reported quarterly profit of $1.2 billion, or $1.62 per share, compared with $877 million, or $1.13 per share, in the year-ago quarter.

That easily beat Wall Street's average forecast of $1.36 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Overall sales rose 4 percent to $16 billion, as more commercial plane deliveries offset a dip in defense revenue.

Analysts were expecting $16.6 billion, on average.

Boeing , which is struggling to get its 787 Dreamliner in the air, kept its earnings forecast of $5.70 to $5.85 per share for the full year, below analysts' average forecast of $5.95 per share.

Boeing Earnings Reaction

For next year, it forecast earnings of $6.80 to $7.00 per share. Analysts are expecting $6.96 per share, on average.

The company had originally planned to deliver 112 of its 787s by the end of 2009, but has scaled that back to 25 after three major delays on the program pushed it 15 onths behind schedule.

Boeing said the plane was sticking to the latest schedule issued two weeks ago.

Sales at Boeing's commercial plane unit rose 8 percent to  $8.2 billion in the first quarter, powered by an 8 percent increase in plane deliveries to 115.

Boeing's defense unit, which is the Pentagon's No. 2 supplier behind Lockheed Martin, posted a 2 percent drop in revenue to $7.6 billion, hurt by lower deliveries of military planes.

The unit lost out to rival Northrop Grumman and its partner EADS in a $35 billion refueling tanker program for the U.S. Air Force in February, but it is protesting the award.

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