Boeing’s fourth-quarter 1990 profit was more than four times what the company earned in the strike-plagued final quarter of 1989, it reported Monday.
The airplane maker’s annual earnings also were higher.
Boeing said its results were boosted by higher sales and better margins for its commercial jetliners. They countered heavy defense and space losses.
Boeing Chairman and Chief Executive Frank Shrontz said at a news conference that the long-term outlook for his company was bright, although the economy, turmoil among airline companies and the Gulf War are troubling.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Boeing Co. had a profit of $318 million on sales of $7.02 billion. That was up from net earnings of $77 million on sales of $4.85 billion a year earlier.
Boeing’s defense business is primarily in large weapons systems, such as the B-2 stealth bomber and Advanced Tactical Fighter. It has not seen an increase in business because of the Middle East fighting. Shrontz said a lengthy war could mean less money available for new defense projects.
For Boeing, “the shorter the war, the better it is,” he said.
Boeing’s defense and space business lost $418 million in 1990, compared to $474 million in 1989. The loss, Shrontz said, was because of continued cost, technical and schedule problems on U.S. government contracts.
Operating results for defense and space should improve significantly in 1991, he said. Boeing last year reorganized its defense business in an attempt to cut losses.
For the year, the company enjoyed a record profit of $1.39 billion on sales of $27.6 billion. That compared to net earnings of $675 million on sales of $20.23 billion in 1989. The 1989 profit figures excluded $298 million, reflecting a switch that year to a new accounting standard.
Shrontz forecast that 1991 sales would be about $29 billion. Although space and defense sales are expected to shrink in 1991, commercial jet deliveries should rise, he said. He also noted that Boeing projects such as the B-2, V-22 tilt-rotor aircraft and the space station are receiving close scrutiny in Congress.
In 1990, Boeing set its sixth-straight yearly record for dollar value of jets ordered. Airlines ordered 543 jets worth $47.7 billion. Shrontz said he doubted that Boeing could top that mark in 1991, but noted that the orders will translate into increasing delivery sales through the mid-1990s.