Boeing posts quarterly loss as labor and supply strains overshadow increase in jet demand
- Boeing posted a loss in the fourth quarter as supply chain issues weighed on results.
- Boeing generated $3.1 billion in cash flow in the quarter, higher than analyst forecasts.
- The company's leaders have been hesitant to ramp up production.
Boeing posted a $663 million loss for the fourth quarter as supply chain issues weighed on results despite a rebound in aircraft sales and deliveries that drove up revenue.
Airlines and aircraft manufacturers have benefited from a sharp recovery in air travel, one of the most affected industries from the Covid pandemic. But Boeing's leaders have been hesitant to ramp up aircraft production until the supply chain has stabilized.
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The company is producing 31 of its 737 jets a month and plans to increase that to about 50 per month in 2025 or 2026. It said it would raise what has been low production rate of the 787 Dreamliners to five each month toward the end of the year and to 10 per month in 2025 or 2026. Deliveries of those wide-body planes had been paused for around two years until this summer due to production flaws.
For the full year, Boeing had a loss of $5 billion despite a 7% increase in revenue to $66.6 billion.
Here's how the company performed in the fourth quarter compared with analysts' estimates complied by Refinitiv:
- Adjusted loss per share: $1.75 vs. expected earnings per share of 26 cents.
- Revenue: $19.98 billion vs. $20.38 billion expected.
Boeing generated $3.1 billion in cash flow in the fourth quarter, higher than analyst forecasts, and $2.3 billion for the year, the most since 2018, before the second of two fatal 737 Max crashes that sparked a yearslong crisis for the company.
Its commercial aircraft unit generated $9.2 billion in sales in the fourth quarter, up 94% from a year earlier as deliveries jumped, but it still produced a loss due to abnormal costs and other expenses such as research and development, the company said.
Boeing reiterated its expectation to generate between $3 billion and $5 billion in free cash flow this year.
"We're proud of how we closed out 2022, and despite the hurdles in front of us, we're confident in our path ahead," CEO Dave Calhoun said Wednesday in a memo to employees. "We have a robust pipeline of development programs, we're innovating for the future and we're increasing investments to prepare for our next generation of products."