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Grounded, but earning well

Embattled Boeing delivers strong earnings report, share price rises

By Steve LeVine

Boeing delivered a strong earnings report and its share price rose ahead of what analysts expect to be a tough conference call this morning with CEO Jim McNerney, who must explain how he is dealing with questions about its flagship Dreamliner.

The aircraft manufacturer reported fourth-quarter earnings of $1.28 a share, higher than the consensus estimate of $1.19 a share reported by Thomson Reuters. Its revenue was slightly higher than expected by the consensus–$22.38 billion compared with the expected $22.36 billion. (The earnings were down from $1.83 a share in the same quarter of 2011, but the revenue was higher—in the fourth quarter of 2011, the company reported $19.56 billion.)

In pre-market trading, Boeing’s share price rose by nearly a point to $74.33.

But in the conference call, analysts will want to know how McNerney will handle the cost of probably months-long delays in delivering Dreamliners to its customers. Global regulators have grounded the 787 because of suspicions that something is wrong with lithium-ion battery system. Earlier this month, a fire erupted on one of 787, and smoke was detected on a second.