Spirit AeroSystems Earnings Crush Estimates

Wichita, Kan.-based Spirit AeroSystems (NYSE: SPR  ) shares were soaring in early Friday trading, following a Q3 2013 earnings report that showed the company blowing past earnings estimates, despite barely reaching consensus targets for revenue.

Q3 2013 revenues of $1.504 billion just edged out analysts' expected $1.5 billion, and were 10% greater than what Spirit took in one year ago. Earnings per share, meanwhile, came in at $0.65, or a full nickel ahead of Spirit's predicted $0.60 per-share profit -- and reversed last year's $0.54 net loss.

Spirit cited "continued strong demand for large commercial aircraft [and] solid mature program operating performance" as helping it achieve profitability. At the same time, "the impact of new program charges" prevented profits from reaching as high as they might otherwise have -- but still left the company firmly profitable.

CEO Larry Lawson was quoted in the company press release as predicting that going forward, the company has the ability to produce "predictable and consistent earnings and cash flow." In demonstration of which, Spirit generated free cash flow of $128 million for the quarter, nearly four times the amount of cash profit it produced in Q3 2012 -- and enough to lift the company back into the black on a cash-profitability basis for the year to-date. As of today, Spirit has generated $7 million in positive free cash flow over the first nine months of this year.

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