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Boeing Earnings Beat Big

January 30, 2019

Boeing reported fourth-quarter revenue of $28.3 billion, GAAP earnings per share of $5.93 and core earnings per share (non-GAAP) of $5.48, all company records. These results reflect record commercial deliveries, higher defense and services volume and strong performance which outweighed favorable tax impacts recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017 (Table 1). Boeing generated operating cash flow of $2.9 billion, repurchased 1.6 million shares for $0.6 billion, paid $1.0 billion of dividends and completed the acquisition of KLX.

Boeing's huge fourth-quarter earnings of $5.48 per share crushed expectations of 91 cents per share. The firm's revenue of $28.3 billion was more than $1 billion that was expected.

Revenue was a record $101.1 billion for the full year reflecting higher commercial deliveries and increased volume across the company. Records for GAAP earnings per share of $17.85 and core earnings per share (non-GAAP)* of $16.01 were driven by higher volume, improved mix and solid execution.

Boeing guided next year's earnings of $19.90 to $20.10 per share. Investors were only looking for $18.31 a share for full-year 2019 earnings.

"Across the enterprise our team delivered strong core operating performance and customer focus, driving record revenues, earnings and cash flow and further extending our global aerospace industry leadership in 2018," said Boeing Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg. "Our financial performance provided a firm platform to further invest in new growth businesses, innovation and future franchise programs, as well as in our people and enabling technologies. In the last 5 years, we have invested nearly $35 billion in key strategic areas of our business, all while increasing cash returns to shareholders."

"Our One Boeing focus, clear strategies for growth, and leading positions in large and growing markets, give us confidence for continued strong performance, revenue expansion and solid execution across all three businesses, which is reflected in our 2019 guidance."

"We remain focused on executing on our production and development programs as well as our growth strategy while driving further productivity, quality and safety improvements, investing in our team and creating more value and opportunity for our customers, shareholders and employees."

Operating cash flow was $2.9 billion in the quarter and $15.3 billion for the full year, reflecting planned higher commercial airplane production rates and strong operating performance as well as timing of receipts and expenditures (Table 2). During the quarter, the company repurchased 1.6 million shares for $0.6 billion, paid $1.0 billion in dividends, and completed the acquisition of KLX. For the full year, the company repurchased 26.1 million shares for $9.0 billion and paid $3.9 billion in dividends. Based on strong cash generation and confidence in the company's outlook, the board of directors in December increased the quarterly dividend per share by 20 percent and replaced the existing share repurchase program with a new $20 billion authorization.

Cash and investments in marketable securities totaled $8.6 billion, compared to $10.0 billion at the beginning of the quarter (Table 3). Debt was $13.8 billion, up from $11.9 billion at the beginning of the quarter primarily due to the issuance of new debt following the KLX acquisition.

Total company backlog at quarter-end was relatively unchanged at $490 billion and included net orders for the quarter of $27 billion.

Commercial Airplanes fourth-quarter revenue increased to $17.3 billion reflecting higher deliveries and favorable mix (Table 4). Fourth-quarter operating margin increased to 15.6 percent, driven by higher 737 volume and strong operating performance on production programs, including higher 787 margins.

During the quarter, Commercial Airplanes delivered 238 airplanes, including the delivery of the 787th 787 Dreamliner and the first 737 MAX Boeing Business Jet. The 737 program delivered 111 MAX airplanes in the fourth quarter, including the first MAX delivery from the China Completion Center, and delivered 256 MAX airplanes in 2018. The first 777X flight test airplane completed final body join and power-on, and the program remains on track for flight testing this year and first delivery in 2020.

Commercial Airplanes booked 262 net orders during the quarter, valued at $16 billion. Backlog remains robust with nearly 5,900 airplanes valued at $412 billion.

Defense, Space & Security fourth-quarter revenue increased to $6.1 billion driven by increased volume across F/A-18, satellites, and weapons (Table 5). Fourth-quarter operating margin increased to 10.9 percent, primarily reflecting favorable mix.

During the quarter, Defense, Space & Security was awarded contracts for the second KC-46 Tanker to Japan, a joint ground system to provide tactical satellite communications for the U.S. Air Force and to modernize 17 Chinooks for Spain. Defense, Space & Security also completed a successful test for the U.S. Air Force's Minuteman III and unveiled the SB>1 DEFIANT helicopter for the U.S. Army. In January, the first two KC-46 Tankers were delivered to the U.S. Air Force.

Backlog at Defense, Space & Security was $57 billion, of which 30 percent represents orders from customers outside the U.S.

Global Services fourth-quarter revenue increased to $4.9 billion, primarily driven by higher parts volume including the acquisition of KLX (Table 6). Fourth-quarter operating margin increased to 15.0 percent reflecting improved performance, partially offset by higher period costs.

During the quarter, Global Services was awarded Performance Based Logistics contracts for C-17 and F-22 for the U.S. Air Force and F-15 for Qatar as well as contracts for F/A-18 services for the U.S Navy. Global Services was also selected by Shenzhen Airlines to provide crew management solutions, making them the first airline in China to utilize Boeing AnalytX-powered services. Significant milestones during the quarter included the first KC-46 training flight with the U.S. Air Force. In addition, Global Services successfully began integrating KLX and began operations of the Auxiliary Power Unit joint venture with Safran.

At quarter-end, Boeing Capital's net portfolio balance was $2.8 billion. Revenue in other unallocated items and eliminations decreased primarily due to the timing of eliminations for intercompany aircraft deliveries and the 2017 sale of aircraft previously leased to customers. The change in earnings from other unallocated items and eliminations is primarily due to timing of expense allocations. The effective tax rate for the fourth quarter increased from the same period in the prior year primarily due to the favorable impacts from the enactment of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act recorded in the fourth quarter of 2017.

Outlook

Effective in the first quarter of 2019, the Company is making a change to the accounting for military derivative aircraft. Revenues and costs associated with military derivative aircraft were previously reported in the Commercial Airplanes and Defense, Space & Security segments. Beginning in 2019, all revenues and costs associated with military derivative aircraft will be reported in the Defense, Space & Security segment.

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