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Business

Boeing profit soars on strong commercial plane sales

Sales of commercial aircraft boosted Boeing's earnings in the first quarter of 2015, lifting both revenue and profit at the US aerospace giant. As order books are also overflowing, the firm aims to keep flying high.

US aerospace giant Boeing reported Wednesday that it delivered 184 airliners between January and March 2015, up from 161 planes in the same period a year ago. The Chicago-based planemaker reported especially strong sales for its venerable 737 jet that accounted for two-thirds of the first-quarter deliveries.

As a result of higher commercial aircraft deliveries, revenue increased 8 percent from a year ago to $22.15 billion (20.9 billion euros). Net profit also soared, rising 38 percent to $1.34 billion, up from $965 million in the 2014 first quarter.

Excluding $113 million in pension expenses, adjusted earnings reached $1.97 per share, Boeing said, which was well above Wall Street's consensus estimate of $1.81.

"The strong operational and financial performance reinforces our ability to continue providing competitive returns for our shareholders while investing in technology and our people," said Boeing chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney in a statement.

Boeing's CEO confirmed the company's full-year 2015 forecast of revenue between $94.5 billion and $96.5 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of $8.20 to $8.40. He said the company expected to deliver 750 to 755 commercial aircraft this year.

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Full order books, but weak defense sales

While Boeing's commercial plane segment shone in the first quarter, the gloom in its defense business remained like in the previous quarters.

Amid US defense spending cutbacks, revenue of Boeing's Defense, Space & Security unit was down 12 percent from a year ago to $6.71 billion, and earnings were 4 percent lower.

Nevertheless, the company boasts overflowing order books, worth a total of $495 billion in the quarter, including more than 5,700 jetliner orders. In the first three months of this year alone, Boeing booked 110 net orders, with almost half of them for its new version of the best-selling 737 workhorse, the 737 MAX.

uhe/sri (Reuters, AFP, AP)

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