Boeing third-quarter profit beats expectations; defense strong

Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:10am EDT
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(Reuters) - Boeing Co (BA.N: Quote) posted stronger-than-expected results for the third quarter on Wednesday and raised its forecast for the full year as its defense business improved and commercial aircraft deliveries surged.

The company said it earned $1.0 billion, or $1.35 a share, compared with $1.1 billion, $1.46 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $20.0 billion from $17.7 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected Boeing to post earnings per share of $1.13 for the quarter that ended September 30.

"They were obviously strong in defense, which is certainly good to see," said Ken Herbert, an analyst at Imperial Capital LLC.

Defense revenue fell 4 percent $7.8 billion, compared with a year ago, but margins widened to 10.5 percent from 10 percent.

Those shifts reflected contraction of defense spending - a growing trend as the United States and Europe cut budgets - but also showed Boeing's ability to be "very aggressive" in cutting costs, Herbert said. "They're ahead of the curve compared with their peers."

Boeing raised its full-year earnings forecast to between $4.80 and $4.95 a share, compared with $4.40 to $4.60 previously. It said revenue for the full year should reach $80.5 billion to $82 billion, due to more sales in the defense, space and security businesses.

The report cheered investors, who sent the stock up 2.6 percent to $74.70 in premarket trading.

"Boeing is getting pretty good at this," Robert Stallard, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, wrote in a note to clients.   Continued...

Logos of some Boeing 787 commercial airline clients are seen on a fuselage of the aircraft at the Singapore Airshow in Singapore February 14, 2012. REUTERS/Kevin Lam