Boeing forecasts sharp rise in profit, jet output in 2018

Boeing Co's logo is seen above the front doors of its largest jetliner factory in Everett, Washington. ― Reuters picBoeing Co’s logo is seen above the front doors of its largest jetliner in Everett, Washington. ― Reuters picNEW YORK, Jan 31 ― Boeing Co today forecast full-year profit well above estimates as it looks forward to its busiest year ever for plane deliveries, sending its shares up more than 5 per cent.

The world’s biggest planemaker said it aims to ship between 810 and 815 commercial aircraft in 2018, as much as 6.8 per cent more than the industry-record 763 jets it delivered in 2017, putting it ahead of European rival Airbus.

Both companies are speeding up production at their factories to chip away at the large backlog of orders for new jetliners, created over the past few years as airlines want new, fuel-efficient planes to cope with a surge in demand for air travel.

Helped by the hunger for new jets, Boeing forecast core profit would rise to US$13.80 (RM53.84) to US$14.00 a share in 2018, ahead of analysts’ average estimate of US$11.96, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

For the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, Boeing’s core earnings nearly doubled to US$4.80 per share from $2.47 a year earlier, buoyed by rising plane output and a gain from changes to the US tax law.

Boeing shares, which have more than doubled in the past 12 months, rose 6.3 per cent at US$359.10 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Setting the table

Boeing also forecast at least US$12.8 billion in free this year, encouraging Wall Street analysts, who generally view the company’s early targets as conservative.

“Actual results could ultimately be higher,” Seth Seifman, an analyst at JPMorgan, said in a note to clients. “As a result, we expect the stock to outperform despite its recent run now that management has set the table for a solid 2018.”

By raising production while holding down costs, Boeing and Airbus generate more profit and cash. Despite the rising output, their order backlogs have kept growing. Boeing said its total backlog, which includes military aircraft and other products, rose to US$488 billion at year-end, compared with US$474 billion at the end of the third quarter.

Boeing’s core earnings for the latest quarter included a one-time tax gain of US$1.74 a share due to the lower US corporate tax rate signed into law last month reducing its deferred tax liabilities in the future.

Excluding the gain, Boeing reported earnings of US$3.06 a share. On that basis, Wall Street had been expecting US$2.89 a share. ― Reuters

Source: The Malay Mail Online

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