Boeing third quarter profit beats expectations; defense strong

CHICAGO, Wed Oct 24, 2012 – Boeing Co. posted stronger-than-expected results for the third quarter on Wednesday and raised its forecast for the full year, as its defense business improved and commercial aircraft deliveries surged.

The company said it earned $1.0 billion, or $1.35 a share, compared with $1.1 billion, $1.46 a share, a year ago. Revenue rose to $20.0 billion from $17.7 billion.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected Boeing to post earnings per share of $1.13 for the quarter that ended Sept. 30.

“They were obviously strong in defense, which is certainly good to see,” said Ken Herbert, an analyst at Imperial Capital LLC.

Defense revenue fell 4 percent $7.8 billion, compared with a year ago, but margins widened to 10.5 percent from 10 percent.

Those shifts reflected contraction of defense spending – a growing trend as the United States and Europe cut budgets – but also showed Boeing’s ability to be “very aggressive” in cutting costs, Herbert said. “They’re ahead of the curve compared with their peers.”