Boeing Posts Wider Q2 Loss on COVID-19 Hit, Will End 747 Production and Delay 737 MAX Ramp-Up

Boeing Co. posted a wider-than-expected second quarter loss Wednesday after the world’s second largest planemaker said it continues to be affected by the impact of COVID-19 and the grounding of the 737 MAX.

Boeing its adjusted non-GAAP loss for the three months ending in June was pegged at $4.79 per share, well below the Street consensus forecast of $2.54 per share but ahead of last year’s loss of $5.82 per share. Group revenues, Boeing said, tumbled 25% to $11.8 billion, a figure that also fell well shy of analysts’ estimates of a $13.25 billion tally. Free cash flow was tabbed at -$5.63 billion, compared to -$1.01 billion over the same period last year.

The planemaker also said it would delay the ramp-up of production on the 737 MAX, which has been grounded by regulators around the world, including the FAA, following fatal crashes in 2018 and 2019. Boeing also said it will end production of its iconic 747 jumbo jet in 2022. Production cuts are also slated for the 787 and 777 jet programs.

CEO David Calhoun also hinted at further job cuts, following an earlier plan to reduce its workforce by around 4,000, in a letter to employees following the second quarter earnings.

“We remained focused on the health of our employees and communities while proactively taking action to navigate the unprecedented commercial market impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic,” Calhoun said. “We’re working closely with our customers, suppliers and global partners to manage the challenges to our industry, bridge to recovery and rebuild to be stronger on the other side.”

“In the second quarter, Boeing restarted production operations across key sites following temporary pauses to protect its workforce and introduce rigorous new health and safety procedures,” he added. “Despite the challenges, Boeing continued to deliver across key commercial, defense, space and services programs.”

“The company also resumed early stages of production on the 737 program with a focus on safety, quality and operational excellence,” Calhoun said. “Following the lead of global regulators, Boeing made steady progress toward the safe return to service of the 737, including completion of FAA certification flight tests.”

Boeing shares were marked 0.85% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $172.30 each.

“Q2 was anticipated to be an ugly quarter for Boeing which both sales and adjusted earnings reflected; however, the free cash flow burn was better than expected as the Company adjusts operations to align with demand,” said Benchmark analyst Josh Sullivan.

“Further, the new aircraft production schedules look realistic coupled with an industry consensus of a 2023 recovery in air travel,” he added. “However, updates on the call for future cash burn, 737-MAX certification, and order/cancelations outlook could be tripping points.”

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