Earnings at aerospace heavyweight Boeing (BA) soared by a stronger-than-expected 58% in the first quarter thanks in part to a surge in commercial airline deliveries.
The Chicago-based blue-chip company also upgraded its full-year profit outlook, helping to drive its shares more than 2% higher ahead of Wednesday’s open.
Boeing said it earned $923 million, or $1.22 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $586 million, or 78 cents a share, a year earlier. Analysts had called for EPS of just 94 cents.
Revenue climbed 30% to $19.38 billion, easily topping the Street’s view of $18.37 billion. Operating margins expanded to 8.1% from 6.7%.
Boeing said its backlog of orders leaped to a record $380 billion thanks to $42 billion in new orders. Specifically, Boeing credited more than 300 firm orders for its new 737 MAX jetliner as well as a contract with Saudi Arabia to manufacture 84 new F-15s.
“Strong core operating performance from our production programs and services businesses continues to drive expanded earnings, revenue and cash flow for Boeing," CEO Jim McNerney said in a statement.
Boeing also upgraded its earnings guidance, projecting 2012 EPS of $4.15 to $4.35, up from $4.05 to $4.25. The midpoint of the new view, $4.25, would trail estimates from analysts for $4.47. Boeing also reaffirmed its sales guidance for $78 billion to $80 billion, which is in line with the Street’s view of $79.08 billion.
"Our outlook for the year remains positive, and our team is focused on meeting our commitments to customers, profitably increasing commercial airplane production and delivery rates, and building on our strong position in defense, space and security markets,” McNerney said.
Boeing said its commercial airplane deliveries jumped by 32% last quarter to 137, helping to trigger a 54% leap in sales to $10.9 billion. Operating margins jumped to 9.9% from 7.2%.
Revenue increased 8% at Boeing’s defense, space and security division, driven by a 27% rise in military aircraft that helped offset a 23% decline in network and space systems revenue.
Shares of Boeing, which have been flat so far this year, jumped 2.5% to $75.04 ahead of the opening bell on Wednesday.