Strong third quarter helps Spirit Aero back from G280 hit

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A strong third quarter for Spirit AeroSystems helped claw back some of the impact of a first-half charge against the Gulfstream G280 programme, but the key Boeing 787 supplier is still forecasting a full-year net profit downturn, of as much as 9%.

Chief executive Jeff Turner pointed to the 787's certification and first delivery as important milestones of the quarter to end-September, but warned that his forecast of full-year revenue of $4.7 billion and net profit of $190-213 million was dependent on 787 delivery volume expectations.

The forecast is in line with half-year expectations and marks a significant downturn since the start of this year. Back in February, Spirit announced a 2010 net profit of $219 million on revenue of $4.17 billion, and Turner forecast that full-year 2011 profits would run between $240-269 million.

This third quarter, higher delivery volumes and a favourable model mix boosted revenue by 13% to $1.13 billion and net income by 45% to $67 million. The quarter left Spirit up 18% for the year to end-September in revenue at $3.65 billion, but down 16% in net income to $132 million. At the half year mark, year-on-year sales were up 20%, but profit was down 42% in large part owing to the $53 million charge related to development and manufacturing cost growth on the G280.

The company realised and previously announced an additional pre-tax charge of $53 million ($0.26 per share) on the Gulfstream G280 programme, which is recognised as further forward-loss on the programme. The additional cost on this programme is associated with development and manufacturing cost growth and the decision to transition the wing production to its Kinston, North Carolina facility.

Spirit's backlog at the end of the third quarter of 2011 increased by 4 percent to $30 billion as orders exceeded deliveries.