Boeing Shares Surge on Stellar 1st Quarter Results
Chicago, Illinois-based airplane maker Boeing Co. issued its first-quarter results Wednesday, posting a 58 percent surge in profits as airlines around the globe have been aggressively updating their fleets, pushing Boeing's revenue higher. The company delivered a total of 137 commercial jetliners in the quarter, surpassing the 131 airplanes moved by its European rival Airbus. The company's defense business grew as well, but not quite as dramatically as the commercial unit.
In the three months ended March 30th, Boeing earned $923 million, or $1.22 per share, nearly doubling its profit of $586 million in the first quarter of 2011. Excluding a gain related to a lawsuit that it won, earnings were still $1.11 per share, easily ahead of the consensus estimate of 96 cents a share projected by analysts in a recent FactSet survey. Overall revenue for the planemaker, meanwhile, surged about 30 percent to $19.4 billion, ahead of the $18.5 million the analysts forecast, on average.
Looking forward, Boeing expects the growth in commercial orders to continue, as it currently has a backlog of orders for commercial planes of $308 billion, including more than 300 orders for its new 737 Max Jetliner, which it expects to be ready for delivery in just a few years. The 737 Max, a single-aisle airliner designed for short to medium-length flights, is being developed to compete with a similar aircraft from Airbus, the A320neo. In all, Boeing currently has a backlog of orders for more than 4,000 planes.
In anticipation of a sharp rebound in aircraft orders this year, Boeing increased its workforce significantly last year, adding 11,000 workers to its payroll. Those additions give the company a total current payroll of just over 171,000 worldwide. Shares of the plane maker, which had so far been relatively flat in 2012, rose more than 5 percent following the quarterly earnings report.