* Q4 deliveries surprise analysts, outlook in line
* Sees fiscal ‘11 commercial plane deliveries down 20 pct
* Business aircraft deliveries seen falling about 15 pct (Updates share price)
By John McCrank
TORONTO, Feb 5 (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO) said on Friday it delivered more aircraft than expected in its last quarter, signaling a boost in profits, but it warned the weak economy would hold back orders and deliveries this year.
For the fiscal year ended Jan. 31, Montreal-based Bombardier said deliveries dropped to 302 aircraft from 349 the previous fiscal year.
The drop was the result of 25 percent fewer business jet deliveries, offset in part by a 10 percent rise in commercial aircraft deliveries.
That suggests that businesses are still reluctant to spend on big-ticket items like new aircraft until the global economy returns to more solid footing.
For the fourth quarter, the world’s No. 3 civil aircraft maker delivered 86 aircraft -- 49 business jets, 35 commercial aircraft, and two amphibious planes -- which topped analysts’ expectations.
“On the business jet side, they were five units higher (than the forecast of Genuity Capital Markets) and on the airliner side they were eight units higher and that suggests the fourth-quarter results will benefit,” said David Tyerman, an analyst at Genuity in Toronto.
UBS analyst Fadi Chamoun said Bombardier delivered 14 more business jets than he had expected, two more commercial planes and two more amphibious aircraft.
“We suspect BBD was successful at placing its 14 remaining whitetails during Q4,” he said in a note to clients. Whitetails are planes that had been built for clients who canceled the orders before receiving them.
Overall, he said the implications are favorable for Bombardier’s fourth-quarter and fiscal 2010 earnings per share, as well as cash.
Bombardier, which is also the world’s No. 1 train maker, said it would report its fourth-quarter results on April 1.
It did not give any guidance on Friday on its train-making segment, which has benefited from government infrastructure spending as of late.
The company’s shares ended up 16 Canadian cents at C$5.45 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Friday.
While the fourth quarter deliveries surprised to the upside, the company’s outlook was on par with most analysts’ expectations.
“Looking forward is the critical thing from a share-price standpoint and the delivery prognosis is almost identical to what I’d already modeled,” Tyerman said.
Bombardier said business aircraft deliveries for the current year are expected to be about 15 percent below last year. Commercial aircraft deliveries are expected to be down about 20 percent.
Tyerman said that if the economic recovery stays on course, business jet orders should pick up. The commercial aircraft outlook is less sanguine.
Many in the aerospace industry see 2010 as a year of global economic recovery, 2011 as a year of recovery in profits for airlines, and 2012 as the year airlines will have the capital to put in orders to build or refurbish their fleets. But if the economy falters, so does that scenario, he said.
In the last fiscal year, Bombardier received 11 commercial aircraft orders, net of cancellations. That compares to 367 orders, net of cancellations, for previous fiscal year, a 97 percent drop.
“While indicators of market stabilization have started to emerge, we remain cautious as economic uncertainty still prevails,” Guy Hachey, head of Bombardier’s Aerospace unit, said in a statement.
The lower orders were anticipated, and in November, the company said it would slash 715 jobs in the Montreal area, due to a lack of new orders for its CRJ regional jets.[ID:nN26294891] It had already announced more than 4,000 job cuts earlier in 2009 in two separate rounds.
$1=$1.07 Canadian Additional reporting by Euan Rocha; editing by Peter Galloway