Relatively strong second-quarter figures reward efforts to beat commercial slump

US aerospace companies have reported relatively strong second-quarter results, as cost-reduction efforts and rising defence sales offset the worst effects of reduced civil aircraft deliveries. Boeing's commercial aircraft sales were down 17%, but total revenues declined only 11%, and net earnings only 7%, because of higher sales and profits in its defence and space businesses.

Boeing's second-quarter net earnings were $751 million, on revenues of $13.86 billion. The company delivered 112 commercial aircraft in the quarter, down from 141 a year ago, but shipped more helicopters and missiles. Higher missile defence and integrated battlespace sales were partially offset by lower satellite deliveries and launches.

Lockheed Martin second-quarter sales increased 11%, to $6.29 billion, largely due to a 46% jump in Aeronautics revenues on higher C-130J deliveries, ramp-up of the F-35 programme and increased F-16 and F-22 activity. Space Systems sales fell 1% on a drop in commercial satellite launches. Net earnings soared 135% to $351 million.

The acquisition of shipbuilders Litton and Newport News boosted Northrop Grumman's second-quarter revenues 20% to $4.4 billion, while net income rose 4% to $182 million. Higher defence electronics and unmanned vehicle sales, plus F-35 work, pushed revenues up 8% at the company's Electronic Systems and Integrated Systems sectors.

Raytheon's revenues were flat, at $4.1 billion, with a 32% drop at general aviation manufacturer Raytheon Aircraft offsetting higher revenues in the company's defence businesses. But Raytheon managed to halve its net losses to $136 million, an improvement over the first quarter.

Slower sales of business jets also hit United Technologies, where revenues stayed flat at $7.3 billion while earnings slipped 2.6% to $624 million. Sales at Pratt & Whitney were down 3% to $1.85 billion on lower small-engine shipments, but sales at Flight Systems (Hamilton Sundstrand and Sikorsky) were up 3% to $1.38 billion on higher helicopter aftermarket business. General Electric saw aircraft engine sales drop 10% to $2.76 billion, but segment profits were up 5% to $566 million.

Honeywell's aerospace sales were down 13% from a year earlier, to $2.2 billion, and segment profit fell 28% to $364 million, but this was an improvement over the first quarter. The company blames lower commercial original equipment and aftermarket sales.

Higher US defence spending boosted sales at General Dynamics by 17% to $3.5 billion while earnings rose 15% to $263 million.

Source: Flight International