Boeing Stock Slumps On Surprise Q4 Loss, But Free Cash Flow Turns Positive

“Demand across our portfolio is strong, and we remain focused on driving stability in our operations and within the supply chain to meet our commitments in 2023 and beyond,” said CEO Dave Calhoun.

Updated at 7:49 am EST

Boeing  (BA) – Get Free Report posted a surprise fourth quarter loss Wednesday, but noted its first positive free-cash flow tally in more than four years, 

Boeing said its adjusted core loss for the three months ending in December was pegged at $1.75 per share, up from the massive $7.69 per share loss it reported last year — thanks in part to a $3.5 billion charge linked to delays in production and delivery of its 787 widebody, but well shy of the Street consensus forecast of a 26 cents per share profit

Group revenues, Boeing said, 35% from last year to $19.98 billion, a tally that also missed analysts’ forecasts of $20.38 billion. Free cash flow, however, was pegged at $3.45 billion for the quarter, Boeing said, and positive for the full year for the first time since 2018. 

Boeing delivered 480 planes last year, a 41% increase from 2021 levels, while winning orders for at least 774 new jets, a tally that still trails market-leader Airbus. Boeing’s order backlog was pegged at 4,578 aircraft with a value of around $404 billion. 

Looking into the current financial year, Boeing repeated its forecast for operating cash flows of between $4.5 billion and $6.5 billion, with free cash flow of between $3 billion and $5 billion.

“We had a solid fourth quarter, and 2022 proved to be an important year in our recovery,” said CEO Dave Calhoun. “Demand across our portfolio is strong, and we remain focused on driving stability in our operations and within the supply chain to meet our commitments in 2023 and beyond”

“We are investing in our business, innovating and prioritizing safety, quality and transparency in all that we do,” he added. “While challenges remain, we are well positioned and are on the right path to restoring our operational and financial strength.”  

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Boeing shares were marked 1.2% lower in pre-market trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate an opening bell price of $209.20 each.

Late last year, reports suggested Boeing is close to agreeing a massive aircraft deal with Air India, the Asia-region’s biggest carrier outside of China, that could include more than 200 planes, including both the 737 Max and the 787 Dreamliner. The deal could be announced in the coming days.

The Federal Aviation Administration gave Boeing the go-ahead in August to resume 787 Deliveries after halting them in May of 2021 over concerns linked to safety inspections. 

Boeing’s 737 Max, meanwhile, made its first commercial flight in China in nearly four years earlier this month, potentially opening doors to lucrative orders in the world’s biggest aircraft market.

The Boeing-made jet, which was grounded by aviation authorities around the world following two fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019, had remained under close scrutiny in China more than a year after most countries brought it back into service following changes to its pilot control system.

A 737 Max operated by China Southern Airlines flew from Guangzhou to Zhengzhou on January 13, marking the first domestic flight since 2019 just as the country emerged from its tight Covid travel restrictions.

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