Boeing posted its sixth straight quarterly loss on Wednesday as it continues to struggle with production issues and a weak jetliner market, but expects a tipping point in 2021 as more people get vaccinated and travel again.
The aircraft maker posted a net loss of $ 561 million on revenue of $ 15.2 billion in the first three months of 2021, 10% less than last year but slightly above analysts’ estimates. Boeing reported a $ 318 million input tax fee related to issues with a supplier on its modified 747 aircraft, which will serve as Air Force One.
On an adjusted basis per share, Boeing lost $ 1.53, a smaller loss than the adjusted loss of $ 1.70 per share reported a year ago.
Boeing’s shares fell more than 3% in morning trading after reporting results.
Here are the numbers:
- Loss per share: $ 1.53 adjusted. According to Refinitiv, analysts had expected a loss per share of USD 1.16.
- Revenue: $ 15.22 billion versus $ 15.02 billion expected by analysts surveyed by Refinitiv.
Boeing suffered from weak travel and aircraft demand, as well as the expanded suspension of its best-selling 737 Max aircraft after 346 people died in two fatal accidents and production problems emerged. Regulators started removing grounding in November 2020.
CEO Dave Calhoun said the company suspended shipments of the 737 Max due to electrical issues on some aircraft, which grounded about 100 aircraft around the world just before the midsummer travel season. A fix took longer than expected.
Calhoun told CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street” that the company expects the FAA to approve repairs for the planes in “a relatively short time,” and warned at the quarterly call that deliveries will be easy in April as the Max deliveries were interrupted due to the problem.
The Max isn’t Boeing’s only production problem. Last month, the company resumed deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner wide-body aircraft after production defects were reported last year. Sales were sluggish as long-haul international travel continued to decline sharply in the pandemic. The company expects to ship “most” of its inventory of 787 aircraft by the end of the year.
Revenue in the commercial aircraft unit declined 31% year over year to $ 4.27 billion, although deliveries for new aircraft increased from 50 to 77. Boeing also saw new sales from customers like United and Southwest Airlines to return to plans to upgrade their fleets and prepare for growth. In March, Boeing’s new aircraft orders exceeded cancellations for the first time since 2019.
Boeing reiterated its forecast to increase production of the 737 Max to 31 per month in early 2022 and its estimate of shipping its first 777X wide-body jet in late 2023.
In a presentation, the company cited the pace of vaccinations and infection rates, US-China relations, and the remaining 737 Max approvals, including from China, among the risks to aircraft demand.
Boeing is hoping to end a three-year order drought with China, where sales have suffered from US trade tensions, Max Grounding and the recent pandemic. Calhoun told CNBC that the company probably wouldn’t have to change its Max or 787 production rates in the next six months, even without an order from China.
“I will currently stand up for our administration as CEO,” he said. “I know that you are in a difficult moment with China. I am convinced that we will all get through this moment and that trade will be a big part of it.”
Boeing raised the retirement age of 64-year-old Calhoun by five years to 70 last week and announced that its CFO and long-time managing director, Greg Smith, who has been viewed as his successor, will retire this summer.
Boeing reported negative free cash flow of $ 3.68 billion for the quarter, compared to a negative $ 4.73 billion a year earlier. It ended the first quarter with total debt of $ 63.6 billion, unchanged from the previous quarter.
Sales by the Defense, Space and Security division, growing in importance due to the business’s difficult commercial climate, rose 19% to $ 7.16 billion thanks to higher sales of KC-46A tankers.
The services business was $ 3.75 billion, down 19% year over year.
Boeing stock gained around 13% that year at close of trading on Tuesday, while the S&P 500 was up 11.5%.