Commercial Air Sales Turn EADS Back to Profitability

Sales of their Airbus commercial airliners has somewhat tempered EADS (EADS:P) feelings about losing the KC-X contract to rival Boeing (BA). In the last year thanks to large orders the European aerospace company returned to profitability after a few years of struggles.

Revenue in 2010 was over $60 billion and the company earned a profit of around $1.5 billion. The company has also been able to increase its cash holdings dramatically with an eye on expanding U.S. defense business through acquisitions.

Boeing and EADS unlike other large defense contractors do have the commercial aviation market to help temper ups-and-downs in military spending. They are though soon to be facing more competition from companies like China’s CAI who especially want to enter there own domestic airline market.

EADS has carefully looked at different potential acquisitions in the U.S. to help grow its nascent defense work there. Certainly they now have the necessary funds to do even a rather large one although something like buying Northrop Grumman’s (NOC) shipbuilding group would seem a little too large and ambitious. EADS will most likely target a medium sized defense contractor who provide services or limited hardware.

Major Defense Contactors Post Mixed Results

The latest quarterly earning reports are starting to come out from the big United States defense contractors and they have had mixed results. In many cases earnings and revenues are down although profits have been steady. Boeing (BA) due to issues with its commercial aviation side had a drop and did not perform as well as its peers.

Due to the ongoing delays with the 787 advanced airliner and the 747-800 transport aircraft both of which continue to have delayed entry into service as well as some declines in defense business Boeing reported an eight percent decrease in earnings. They were only about $1.16 billion or a decline of over $100 million from the previous year’s quarter. Revenue also dropped a similar amount to $16.55 billion. Boeing’s guidance for the full year is now below analyst expectations.

General Dynamics (GD) on the other hand had a banner quarter. Profits and earnings increased almost twenty percent. Much of this was driven by demand for their commercial Gulfstream corporate jets. The company also said that for the year earnings would improve over sixty cents a share.

Raytheon (RTN) also announced improved results. Earnings were higher then projected at $1.47 a share much higher then the estimated $1.16 although net income were down about five cents at $1.25. Even so the company is projecting that annual results will be slightly higher then last years. Sales in the quarter were up slightly to almost $7 billion.

Lockheed Martin (LMT) the lead contractor for the struggling Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program which has seen delays and cost adjustments by the Defense Department posted mixed results. Revenue was up but earnings down slightly but missed analyst’s projections. Lockheed was helped by the award of the LCS contract for up to ten ships. The company predicts that 2011 annual earnings will be almost a dollar below 2010.

Northrop Grumman (NOC) has delayed its earning announcement a week until 9 February. Read into that what you may and in the same announcement Northrop reiterated its desire to separate its shipbuilding division from the main company.

Results were rather a mixed bag and depended upon the balance between commercial and defense products and recent awards by the military. The long term trend though seems to be slow growth if not almost stagnant. The continuing use of CRA right now is affecting the U.S. Defense Department’s ability to award new contracts or increase funding to existing programs. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has referred to this as a “crisis” and needs Congress to get the 2011 budget passed. This means that some major contracts will be pushed into the second half of 2011 which could seriously impact annual revenues for this year.

The defense industry continues its boom-or-bust cycle and 2011 on out may be a down year overall although several companies stocks are at or close to recent highs.

Photo from Bob the courier’s flickr photostream.

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Boeing Ships Next-Generation GPS Satellite to Cape Canaveral for Tests — Press Release

Boeing Ships Next-Generation GPS Satellite to Cape Canaveral for Tests

EL SEGUNDO, Calif., June 25, 2009 — Boeing [NYSE: BA] has shipped a Global Positioning System (GPS) IIF satellite to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida to conduct a series of key tests for the U.S. Air Force’s next-generation satellite navigation system.

Built at Boeing’s El Segundo satellite factory, Space Vehicle 2 (SV-2) is undergoing ground testing to prepare for the launch of SV-1, the first of 12 GPS IIF satellites. SV-2 arrived at Cape Canaveral May 7 aboard a C-17 Globemaster III. SV-2 is being used to execute a consolidated system test (CST), which is a set of one-time, system-level design validation tests involving the
space vehicle, the ground-based control segment, and user equipment. SV-2 is also being used as a “pathfinder” to validate satellite transportation processes and equipment, and to validate the launch site test program, procedures and equipment. After completion of the CST and pathfinder activities, SV-2 will return to El Segundo to prepare for its own launch from the Cape.

“The shipment of this pathfinder satellite keeps GPS IIF on track for its first launch, and continues Boeing’s long, successful history of building GPS satellites for the U.S. Air Force,” said Craig Cooning, vice president and general manager of Boeing Space and Intelligence Systems. “The GPS IIF system will bring more capability and improved mission performance to the GPS constellation.”

GPS IIF is the product of Boeing’s experience with 39 successful satellites from the GPS Block I and Block II/IIA missions and more than 30 years of teamwork with the Air Force. GPS IIF features twice the navigational accuracy of heritage satellites, more robust signals for commercial aviation and search and rescue, and greater resistance to jamming in hostile environments. It will form the core of the constellation for many years to come.

GPS is a space-based, worldwide navigation system providing users with highly accurate, three-dimensional position, velocity and timing information 24 hours a day in all weather conditions. A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems
is one of the world’s largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world’s largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32 billion business with 70,000 employees worldwide.



Marc Selinger
Space & Intelligence Systems
[email protected]

Diana Ball
Space & Intelligence Systems
[email protected]

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