Spirit AeroSystems net profits drop 12%

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Spirit AeroSystems today posted a 12% decline in net income for 2011 compared to the same period a year earlier, which was a steeper drop than company officials predicted three months ago.

Full-year net income declined from $219 million in 2010 to $192 million last year, the Wichita, Kansas-based systems said.

Spirit blamed the reduced earnings mostly on the unexpected costs of developing the wing for the Gulfstream G280 mid-size business jet.

Earnings from operations plunged year-over-year for Spirit's wing systems segment, declining by 99.5% from $101 million to $500,000.

Even so, Spirit had estimated in November that net earnings would decline by only 9% overall in 2011.

The company's revenues climbed by 17% in 2011 compared to the previous year, rising from $4.17 billion to $4.86 billion.

In the fourth quarter, net income dipped year-over-year by 2% to $60 million, but revenues improved 14% to $1.22 billion.

Fourth quarter results included a $29 million pre-tax charge on the G280 programme. Manufacturing cost growth on the Boeing 747-8 programme, meanwhile, forced Spirit to accept an $18 million charge. Finally, Spirit also recorded a $3 million, pre-tax charge on the wing programme for the Airbus A350.

The charges were partly offset by a $21 million favourable catch-up posted against the Boeing 737 programme, as Spirit achieved better productivity and efficiency improvements than anticipated, the company said.

The company's backlog grew by 5% to $32 billion in the fourth quarter.

Spirit now estimates to record overall revenues in 2012 of $5.2 billion to $5.4 billion.