Aerospace & Defense

Boeing hungry for more deals to boost high-margin services unit

Key Points
  • Growing Boeing's services unit "is a top priority," CEO Dennis Muilenburg tells CNBC.
  • Muilenburg says the aerospace giant is trying to "find strategic acquisitions that complement our organic investment in services."
  • The services unit is growing more than twice as fast as the broader aircraft services market.
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Boeing is shopping for its next acquisition, aiming to build its robust business of souping up airplanes.

CEO Dennis Muilenburg told CNBC's Phill LeBeau that growing the services unit is "a top priority" as the aerospace giant tries to "find strategic acquisitions that complement our organic investment in services."

"We're also looking for targeted vertical depth in areas like avionics and digital solutions, data analytics," Muilenburg said on "Squawk Alley."

The world's largest aerospace company is well on its way to reaching its long term goal for its services business, which it hopes to grow to more than $50 billion in annual revenue in five to 10 years. The services unit, already Boeing's most profitable, is growing more than twice as fast as the broader aircraft services market, offering aircraft maintenance, data analytics and supply chain services.

Muilenburg said Boeing is focusing on making "strategic acquisitions" that will "really complement our organic portfolio."

The company expects the global market of servicing commercial and government aircraft will be worth $2.6 trillion between 2017 to 2026. The steadily increasing demand for air travel means Boeing is creating demand in the services market with the hundreds of new airplanes it is producing each year.

Boeing is also making long-term bets through its HorizonX Ventures arm, which Muilenburg said "tend to be more partnership models" than outright acquisitions.

"Things like investments in artificial intelligence, robotics and automation," Muilenburg said.

The venture capital arm of Boeing has started off 2018 with several high profile investments, such as battery start-up Cuberg, Australian satellite company Myriota and British propulsion company Reaction Engines.

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