Boeing's increased rate of commercial jet manufacturing is starting to pay off for shareholders.
In the first three months of this year, 161 new airplanes rolled off the company's assembly lines -- more jets than the same period last year. That increased rate contributed to a $965 million profit for Chicago-based Boeing (BA) post in the first quarter.
The net income was actually down 12.7 percent from last year's $1.1 billion first quarter profit, but that is because Boeing took a $330 million accounting write-off related to changes in its retirement plans. The company also noted that its 2013 earnings were inflated by a one-time research and development tax credit.
Net income a share dropped to $1.28 a share from $1.44 during last year's first quarter. But adjusted to exclude the write-off, earnings were $1.76 a share, beating the estimate of $1.56 a share from Wall Street analysts surveyed by FactSet. Shares rose $2.38, or 1.9 percent, to $129.93 in midday trading.
The company reported $20.47 billion in revenue, more than the $20.15 billion expected by Wall Street. That's up 8 percent from the $18.9 billion in revenue during the same period last year.
The company's much delayed 787 Dreamliner also showed progress, reaching a production rate of 10 per month -- although only 18 were delivered during the first quarter. Still, that's a major improvement over last year, when only one Dreamliner was delivered due to a worldwide grounding of the fleet over concerns about its lithium-ion batteries catching on fire.
Boeing has backlog of 5,100 airplanes on order with a combined book value of $374 billion.
On the defense side, revenue fell 6 percent and Boeing lowered its full year revenue guidance for military aircraft to $14.2 billion, down from $15 billion. Its global support and services revenue is expected to climb, however, from $7.8 billion to $8.6 billion. Both changes reflect a realignment within the defense unit.
Boeing also repurchased 19.4 million shares for $2.5 billion during the first quarter.