Boeing 2014 earnings: $91bn in revenue

Jan. 28, 2015: Boeing issued its 4Q2014 and full year press release this morning; the conference call will be at 10:30am EST.

The closely watched 2015 cash flow guidance is more than $9bn. Revenue for 2014 was nearly $91bn and is forecast to pass $94bn this year.

Boeing will repurchase up to $12bn in stock over the next two-three years.

Initial analyst reaction:

Buckingham Research
We reiterate our Underperform rating, $101 target and recommend investors sell shares following BA’s 4Q14 earnings, where (1) BCA margins missed, (2) 787 deferred costs of $26.1B exceeded our expectations of $25.4B, and (3) BA’s 2015 implied FCF guidance of ~$6.2B remains a questionable target due to seemingly poorer operational performance in 2015. A key element of our bearish BA thesis is that BA will lower 777 production rates due to weak widebody demand and the need to bridge the production gap with the 777X. We also see increased risk to 787 costs, as the cumulative $26.1B deferred costs were above our expectations. We see 2% upside and -37% downside from current levels under our best/worst case scenarios.

Goldman Sachs
The closely watched 787 deferred production balance increased to $26.15bn from $25.19bn last quarter. That $960mn sequential increase compares to our estimate of $726mn, and we believe is likely higher than most investors were anticipating. It is also larger than the $947mn sequential increase experienced last quarter.

JP Morgan
Q4 core EPS and FCF in particular were better than expected, as was 2015 guidance. Q4 FCF exceeded our estimate by over $2 bn and 2015 guidance for > $6.2 bn should be well received. While this might represent a modest decline from $6.6 bn last year, 2014 FCF was much stronger than expected and initial guidance is typically conservative. We came into today at ~$7.3 bn for 2015 and expected initial guidance closer to ~$5 bn.

However, the quarter was not unblemished. 787 deferred production increased by $960 mn, about unchanged from growth in Q3 and suggests management could have difficulty capping the deferred balance below $27 bn, as it indicated last quarter that it intends to do. Still, 787 unit costs are difficult to forecast quarter to quarter, and the improvement we are looking for could come suddenly at some point rather than as a gradual ramp down. In addition, the solid 2015 cash flow guidance suggests confidence on lower 787 unit costs.

Weaker than expected core BCA margins are another concern. We estimate the margin ex R&D and ex 787 and 747 was ~16.5% in Q4, or 150 bps below our estimate. This is the second consecutive miss following a series of very strong results and calls into question the durability of some Partnering for Success gains. 2015 guidance for BCA margins is 9.5-10.0% and this has typically been an area of conservatism. We came in looking for 11.1% this year but we will need to re-evaluate this in light of 2H14 performance.

Wells Fargo
Boeing introduced 2015 Core EPS guidance of $8.20-$8.40 (Us: $8.45; Consensus: $8.50) on 4-6% sale growth. More importantly, the implied FCF guidance is more than $6.2B. Going into the quarter, our view was that any number above $6B would be viewed positively. BA implied $1.0B-$1.5B of quarterly buyback over the next 2-3 years; the 2015 share count guidance suggests the aggressive end of the range, we believe.

787. Deferred costs for the 787 increased $960M to $26.15B – comparable to Q3’s $947M sequential increase. This means the per unit increase in deferred was essentially the same as in Q3; we think investors will be disappointed with not seeing a slowdown in the deferred costs.

In all, with the 2015 FCF outlook at-or-above consensus expectations, we anticipate a positive reaction in BA shares despite continued growth in the 787 deferred balance.

10 Comments on “Boeing 2014 earnings: $91bn in revenue

    • The money comes from creative accounting and the 777 737 and 767 cash cows.
      While 787 ‘ costs’ may be getting near the ‘out of pocket ” daily expenses, there is this ” long term loan of a few billion to be paid back ”

      Perhaps even the pension accounting gains may be contributing to earnings AKA vapor profits.

      Buy back of stock raises the dividends and helps the executive bonus.

      Warning- do NOT use this accounting at home ! its legal but not for the serfs !

  1. If cash flow is $9bn for every of the next three years they can “easily” spend $12bn in that timeframe to please their shareholders.

  2. stock buyback is what management does when it runs out of ideas. it is a core concept of MBA school managers who’s only goal is short term stock price and end of the year bonus.

    it cripples the financial flexibility of a company to self fund R&D and/or ride out a downturn, in turn actively hurting the long term value and share price of the company.

    • That would explain why in the last couple of years Delta, United, Alaska, Southwest and now American Airlines have initiated stock-buyback plans… 😉

  3. If B’s goal is confuse stockholders / press & public with seemingly contradicting figures, realities, future profits and invisible debts, they do a great job on me. Congrats!

  4. One says it’s horrible, three say it’s good. At least the analysts cannot be blamed to copy from each other. 1 billion additional expense at delivering B787 … when do the better orders show up in the delivery schedule?

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