In a week when dreadful earnings reports have weighed heavily on Wall Street, Boeing Co. (IW 500/16) provided a lift with an upward revision in its full-year guidance and third-quarter results that topped analysts' estimates.
Chicago-based Boeing said its third-quarter revenue jumped 13% year-over-year, from $17.7 billion to $20 billion.
Meanwhile, third-quarter earnings per share dropped 6% to $1.35, although topping Wall Street expectations.
"Strong core operating performance drove increased earnings in both our major businesses, along with higher overall revenues, improved cash flow and solid earnings per share even as pension headwinds rose," Boeing Chairman and CEO Jim McNerney said in a news release.
Boeing's Defense, Space & Security division "maintained double-digit margins in a challenging environment," McNerney added, while its Commercial Airplanes business saw a 28% year-over-year jump in revenue, to $12.2 billion, and a 6% uptick in earnings.
Boeing raised its full-year EPS guidance to between $4.80 and $4.95, up from its previous guidance of between $4.40 and $4.60.
The company raised its revenue guidance to between $80.5 billion and $82 billion on higher defense sales, up from its previous guidance of between $79.5 billion and $81.5 billion.
Thriving Commercial Business
Boeing ended the quarter with a commercial backlog valued at $307 billion. In Boeing's third-quarter earnings call Wednesday morning, McNerney noted that the growth in the company's backlog was fueled by "conversions of 737 Max commitments to firm orders."
"Customer demand for the 737 Max remains high, with 858 orders to date, including 119 orders booked in just the last couple of weeks," McNerney said during the conference call.
The jet is on track "for firm configuration in 2013 and entry into service in 2017," McNerney added.
Overall, Boeing delivered 149 commercial airplanes in the third quarter, including four 787 Dreamliners.
The company will deliver 28 Dreamliners this year, said McNerney, who added that "airline and passenger feedback on the airplane remains extremely positive."
"Perhaps the best reflection on the airplane's successful introduction was the decision by both launch customer [All Nippon Airways] and [Japan Airlines] to exercise options for a combined 21 additional airplanes," he said.
McNerney noted that Boeing expects to reach a milestone production target of five Dreamliners per month by the end of the year, en route to its goal of 10 per month by the end of 2013. Earlier this month, the company delivered the first 787 Dreamliner produced at its new facility in North Charleston, S.C.
Despite "varying degrees of economic uncertainty" around the world, McNerney declared that "Boeing's growth forecast remains positive."
"Strong core demand for commercial airplanes continues," he said, "split roughly equally by worldwide fleet growth on one hand and a healthy replacement cycle fueled by the compelling economics and rapid return on investment that comes from replacing older, less efficient airplanes with the dramatically more efficient new-technology airplanes we are building today."