Aerospace and defense contractor Boeing posted a 19 percent rise in first-quarter profit to a higher-than-expected $1.45 billion, despite segment revenue drops including an outsized decline by space-related operations.
Adjusted for pension costs and other non-core expenses, Boeing’s bottom-line represented quarterly earnings of $2.01 per share, surpassing a Zacks Investment Research forecast for earnings of $1.91 per share in the period.
But like rival Lockheed Martin a day earlier, Boeing underperformed expectations for quarterly revenue, posting an overall 7 percent decline to $20.98 billion.
The Chicago-based company absorbed an even bigger 10 percent slump in revenue in its Network & Space Systems unit. There has been speculation that Boeing and Lockheed are being hurt by SpaceX and other so-called New Space companies, who consistently under-bid the old guard space contractors.
Chairman-CEO Dennis Muilenberg emphasized the positives in Boeing’s financial results.
“With a sharp focus on performance and productivity, our team delivered another quarter of solid financial results, including year-over-year earnings growth and strong operating cash flow,” Muilenburg said. “In turn, we continued to position Boeing for growth with investments in new products and services, innovation, and our people, while again demonstrating our commitment to return significant cash to our shareholders.”
Boeing released its financial results prior to markets opening April 26. Its shares (NYSE: BA) closed off $1.80, or almost 1 percent, at $181.71 amid a mixed broader market.
Boeing shares recently have been trading toward the higher end of a 52-week trading range of $122.35-$185.71. Results follow Boeing’s fourth-quarter earnings period in which the company performed well generally despite sluggishness in its space operations.
Looking ahead, Boeing holds a NASA contract to begin astronaut shuttles, perhaps as early as 2018.