Boeing 3Q15 earnings call

Oct. 21, 2015: Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing president and CEO raised 2015 raised revenue and EPS guidance as a result of the strong third quarter results and he said $8bn in share buyback has been completed through the nine months.

Power on for the 737 MAX was achieved.

Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing president and CEO. Reuters photo via Google images.

Extensions of the KC-46A refueling boom and refueling drogues were achieved in the quarter.

Commercial unit business environment remains “healthy” but the cargo market continues to be watched. Demand for the 737 MAX “remains high.” Given the strong market demand, “we continue to see upward pressure on production rates above the [announced] 52/mo.” But Boeing is not yet ready to go forward.

On the 777 Classic, 44 orders and commitments have been received YTD.

More than 330 787s have been delivered, including more than 50 787-9s.

CFO Greg Smith noted that a record 199 airplanes in the third quarter. He reaffirmed prediction of the 787 becoming cash-positive in the fourth quarter this year. Progress continues on reducing costs on the 787-8. 787-9 costs are reducing as well. There is a deferred production balance of $28.3bn and the rate of growth in deferred production will decline in the fourth quarter.

Operating cash flow for the quarter was strong at $2.9bn. Lowering R&D guidance $100m even as R&D expense on 777X rises.

Comments are paraphrased.


DM: Dennis Muilenburg

GS: Greg Smith

GS: Boeing continues to see deferred production costs plateauing in 2016 before coming down toward the end of the year after rate 12 for the 787 is achieved. Going to rate 14 in 2019/2020 timeframe. Looking for similar margins on today’s other wide-body airplanes.

DM: Improving productivity on 787 program is a high priority.

DM: The overall wide body market continues to be healthy, with strong passenger growth. Cargo growth is more moderated and a bit slow to recover. Replacement demand continues to be strong for narrow and wide-body. On 787, we have 800 aircraft in backlog and strong market demand. Recent EVA order for up to 24 787-10s is a good indication. We remain very bullish on 787.

On 777, we’ve been very focused on building 777 bridge. We’re continuing to fill bridge. Sold out in 2016, more than half sold out in 2017. 777X really have no peer competitor. 777X has completed firm configuration. EIS 2020 as scheduled.

We continue to see strong progress on 787 reliability. There is more work to go, we’re not done. Reliability improvements we’ve delivered to date in the field and into production are taking hold. Last 50 delivered have better reliability than earlier deliveries.

DM: We remain focused on mid-teens margin at BCA through efficiency in our factories, Partnering for Success. It’s a smart and aggressive target for the long-term. Getting there will allow return to shareholders and investment in future products.

As 777X comes into production in 2018. We’re thinking carefully how we get through transition from Classic to X, pulling forward some of the production technology for the X into the Classic to de-risk transition. ExIm Bank reauthorization could cause some customers to delay wide-body decision.

We don’t see any scenarios where we come down below 7/mo during transition.

DM: Continue to see book:bill around 1:1 this year. There is a timing issue rather than a volume issue on some wide-body orders. With a backlog of 5,000 airplanes, the book:bill annually isn’t that important to us. Could shift from one quarter to another.

China order: some are already in the backlog, some are new commitments, will be working through the contract in the coming months.

GS: Extended the block for 737 by 200, 767 by +30.

DM: For the near-term we see MAX and 787 are serving the Middle of the Market. If there is a need for the MOM, we see that as the middle of the next decade. We don’t see this affecting our R&D profile in the next four or five years.

DM: We’re doing our scenario planning now that includes market demand, information from our customers, 777X value proposition, we haven’t finalized our plan but we don’t see going below 7/mo under any scenario. We would get into the meat of this in 2018.

GS: 747 program, this has been a challenging market place. We continue to monitor this market place. We’ve got a pipeline of customers we are looking at. We’ll likely take another look at the rate early next year but for now maintaining 1/mo.

DM: The current bridge we are trying to build is a five year bridge, the depth of the bridge is in 2018 timeframe.The transition production rate, firing blanks is not a high volume proposition. These are incrementals, not a sustained activity. Flight test aircraft will be in the 2018-19 in production.

GS: The profile and key milestones on 787 deferred production costs haven’t change. All the key contributors will turn at rate 12. [Smith did not answer the question about whether a forward charge for the program or a larger accounting block will be necessary.]





24 Comments on “Boeing 3Q15 earnings call

  1. First delivery of 777-9 Dec. 2019, or Dec. 2020? How fast can they bring it to market?

    • Dont go there ! They were ‘over confident’ regarding the time to build and certify on the current (KC46) and previous programs (787, 747-8).

      • Boeing is confident to build the plastic wings of the 787. Boeing is also confident to add folding wing tips to this design. On top Boeing is confident to make the current fuselage thinner. I am not so confident that Boeing will deliver this aircraft in time.

  2. No real surprises here.

    The 787 becoming cash flow positive corresponds with the shutdown of the surge line. The last frame, LN-381 for KLM, will roll out of the surge line in the first half of Dec.

    The deferred production cost plateau for much of 2016 makes sense as well considering the inventory build-up required to go to 12/month.

    • With the plan for the single Seattle line to produce 7 per month ( and Charleston 5) isnt that going just to increase ‘efficency’ but still raise cash costs for that production line. Replacing it with advance work for 777X production just shifts overhead to another program, and increase costs for the normal 777 line as it slows.

  3. I laughed a bit when Muilenburg offered his opinion on Richard Anderson’s (silly) claim that the price for a used 777 is $10m: “I’ll say, based on our understanding of the marketplace and what we understand from our customers, the number is of the wrong order of magnitude.”

  4. I understand that a lot of this cash flow comes from Boeing getting more money up front from their customers. Will this not at some point come back to bite them somewhere?

    Does the profit that Boeing makes on each 787 not have to be split with their risk sharing partners?

      • You can google the following terms (boeing cash flow accelerated customer advances). Some of the results link back to posts within itself.

  5. Amazing the 777classic is still selling 4 or 5 times the rate of the a35j.

  6. Selling and delivering are two different animals.

    777 does not have the backlog the A350 does, but the A350 is still in early ramp up as well. Hard to get slots when you have a big backlog and low production (787 has that issue without the low production)

    777 classic sales go to zero at some point and A350 do not.

    • The A350 ramp up is painfully slow however and the sales haven’t been that hot as well. I’m curious st to the books on that program thus far.

      • Yes the ramp up is slow, it will trickle out eventually as to why.

        Keep in mind that the first 17 have a huge amount of interior changes as well as other strucutural changes. Alsmost two different versions even though they are all 900s.

        You are also talking about a model that split the difference between 787 and 777. I would call the sale remarkable as I did not think there was that much width for a separate aircraft. I was wrong on that account.

        I also note that a lot of the former A330 versions 1 through 4 went and upgraded to the larger A350. My take is that they were not going to go Boeing regardless. Either the A330 was too small and they accepted that or the A350 is too big and are accepting it (and getting great discounts to do so)

        Hawaiian was the only holdout (of note) and they obviously knew what they wanted and eventually got it in the A330NEO (they wanted the A350-800 size if not weight)

        They might have gone Boeing if Airbus had not shifted gears.

        Quite a strange mix but its hard to have sales when the aircraft are all committed, Boeing is working on their backlog but that keeps building as others order into available slots with the 787-9 and -10.

        -10 is not selling in droves either, its too far out and Boeing is probably holding price discipline on that one.

    • Austin, I think Enders has no confidence in internal executives, so he has to go externally. As evidenced by his hiring of Dirk Hoke. He looks at the sharp guy Muilenberg with envy, because Boeing has the bench strenght to promote people internally.

      • How many managers did the 787 go through before they finally found one that was able to bring stability to the program?

        Also note the chaos on the 767 tanker, they had to go right to the top and organize a whole new team to oversee the guy in charge (read that as he was canned).

        Not sure they have a deep bench when they have to grab people that are successful and have their plate full to prop up the failures

        they are shifting top guys around not bring up lower talent that takes the ball and runs. To be expected in the culture that has been created by McNeneary.

    • Airbus has had commendable stability in their senior management for quite a while now. It’s not like in the old days when there was political interference in executive appointments. Tom Williams and John Leahy has been on board for a good while, and Fabrice Brégier has been an executive for quite a while now too. Didier Evrard was promoted from the A350 program. Fernando Alonso at military aircraft was promoted from commercial fight testing. Like Boeing, Airbus has the standing and gravitas to recruit practically anyone it identifies as a talent.

  7. Dennis Muilenburg: “We don’t see any scenarios where we come down below 7/mo during transition.”

    I think that is extremely positive news!

      • Its otherwise called a ‘black swan event’ when they do chop it down to 4 or 5.
        Financial earnings calls arent places for second guessing of any kind.

    • Congratulations on this first KC46 export order. Will there be any commonality with their existing KC767 tankers?

      From the link posted:
      “Airbus immediately declined to participate when Japan issued its tanker request for proposals in September, saying the notice was clearly intended for the Boeing KC-46.

      “It would be an inappropriate use of shareholders’ funds and company resources to bid on this contract and accordingly the company will not be competing,” Airbus said at the time.”

      I seems Boeing has strong “customer intimacy” here 🙂

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