It's been a seriously busy week for the folks at Boeing (NYSE:BA). Not only is the company gearing up for its second quarter presentation, due out Wednesday, but it's also chalking up a solid amount of new orders during this week's Farnborough Airshow. Let's zoom in on the aviation juggernaut's dealings this week.
Boeing and rival Airbus Group added to their already massive backlog of orders this week, landing multiple contracts for additional commercial aircraft. Boeing was topped by its European rival this week, with Airbus recording deals for 496 jets valued at more than $75 billion at list prices. Boeing's deals were nothing to brush aside, however; the Chicago-based aviation manufacturer took in 201 aircraft orders valued at more than $40 billion.
While Airbus topped Boeing's order count during this week's Farnborough airshow, it entered the week far behind Boeing. Boeing entered the airshow with 649 firm orders, and management now believes its net orders for the year have reached 783. Airbus won't officially announce the company's total orders until August, but many analysts are pegging its orders to be right around 650 for the year.
When covering massive industrial companies in the aviation industry, investors have to realize that each strategic move is essentially a chess move that will take years to play out. One of the biggest developments at the Farnborough airshow was when Airbus launched a major upgrade to its popular A330 jet, which will now be sold with new Rolls-Royce PLC engines. The strategic move will help Airbus compete against Boeing's lauded 787 Dreamliner. Airbus claims the engines will generate a 14% gain in fuel-efficiency.
Make no mistake, this is a big move. As fuel costs continue to rise in terms of airliners' overall costs, improved fuel economy is a huge selling point for these costly airplanes. Not only are the new engines a big selling point, and a strong strategic move for Airbus, but the modest $1.36 billion to $2.71 billion cost to reengine the plane is an incredibly large savings when compared to the costs of developing an entire new aircraft to compete with Boeing's Dreamliner.
Boeing will enter its second quarter presentation with slightly elevated expectations. Current estimates for Boeing's second quarter earnings per share is $2.01, a three cent increase from last month's estimate.
Investors will be tuning into the presentation hoping to receive more color on Boeing's accelerated production rate for its commercial airplanes. Boeing is trying to ramp up production to cash in on its massive backlog, valued at $440 billion. The company expects to deliver a record 715 to 725 jetliners this year. However, there have been hiccups with Boeing's 787 Dreamliner production which could hinder the company's ability to meet those expectations -- we'll know more on Wednesday.
"They need to continue to crank 787s out and get cash flow on them," Jim Reed, co-manager of the Global Equity Fund at Scout Investments, which holds about $185,000 worth of Boeing stock, told Reuters. "And they need to move from producing 10 787s a month to 12 a month, like they say they're going to do" by mid-2016.
There's never a dull moment in the highly competitive aviation industry, and Boeing's upcoming quarterly presentation should shed light on many of the company's dealings. Stay tuned.
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