Benefiting from a sharply lower tax rate that helped to offset a dip in sales, Boeing reported on April 27 that its first-quarter earnings rose 13% from a year ago.
The company posted net income of $586 million compared with $519 million in the 2010 first quarter.
Earnings per share rose 11% to 78 cents, topping the average analyst forecast. Revenues slipped 2% to $14.91 billion, missing expectations. Earnings from operations fell 15%, squeezing its operating margin to 6.7% compared with 7.7% a year earlier.
"We're off to a good start in an important year for our company," said Jim McNerney, Boeing CEO. "We delivered strong operating performance, made significant progress on 787 and 747-8 flight testing, and scored a major win on the U.S. Air Force Tanker program."
The company said its effective tax rate dropped to 33.4% in the first quarter from 50.6% in the year-ago period, which had included a $150 million charge on health-care legislation. Boeing reported paying $295 million in taxes, down from $531 million.
Boeing reaffirmed its 2011 financial outlook "reflecting solid core operating performance, higher pension expense, planned deliveries on development programs and the current defense contracting environment." It forecast full-year profit of $3.80 to $4.00 per share and revenues of $68 to $71 billion.
Boeing, which more than doubled full-year earnings in 2010 despite a sharp fall in commercial aircraft sales in the final quarter, reported continued pressure in the segment but a "strong" order backlog.
Commercial Airplanes first-quarter revenue fell 5% to $7.12 billion as 777 deliveries dropped.
Operating margins fell to 7.2% from 9.1% a year ago reflecting a 4% drop in deliveries, to 104 airplanes, and higher research and development investment, the company said.
Boeing said flight testing in the delay-plagued 787 Dreamliner program and the 747-8 program was progressing. It confirmed the first delivery of the 787 to launch customer All Nippon Airways was expected in the third quarter, three years behind the initial schedule, and the first delivery of the 747-8 Freighter is set for mid-2011.
Boeing booked 153 orders for aircraft in the period and removed 47 others, leaving net orders at 106, up from 83 a year earlier.
"Backlog remains strong with over 3,400 airplanes valued at $263 billion," it said.
Boeing's defense arm ended the quarter flat compared with a year ago, despite a 5% rise in military aircraft revenue.
Boeing Defense, Space & Security's first-quarter revenue was $7.6 billion, while the operating margin increased a tenth point to 8.8%.
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2011
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