(By Balachander) Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) reported an increase in core operating earnings as strong commercial airplane deliveries drove double-digit revenue growth and the aerospace giant issued its outlook for 2013.
Core earnings per share (EPS) were $1.46 for the fourth quarter, versus market expectations of $1.19 a share. GAAP net earnings declined 30 percent to $978 billion as expenses increased.
Excluding a 52 cents a share impact related to a favorable tax settlement in the year-ago quarter, Boeing said core EPS grew 4 percent. Core operating earnings rose 9 percent to $1.8 billion.
Revenue increased 14 percent to $22.30 billion, surrounding Wall Street projections. Commercial airplanes deliveries jumped 29 percent to 165.
"Strong fourth-quarter operating performance capped a year of significant growth and solid execution, driving higher earnings and cash flow for our company," commented CEO Jim McNerney.
Core operating margin, meanwhile, shrank to 8.3 percent from 8.6 percent.
At the end of the year, total backlog was $390 billion, up $35 billion from prior year-end.
Total costs and expenses increased 17 percent.
Looking ahead for the full year 2013, Boeing forecasts core EPS in the range of $6.10 to $6.30 on revenue between $82 billion and $85 billion. Analysts' expect EPS of $5.13 on revenue of $88.2 billion.
Boeing, whose 787 fleet have been grounded since mid-January due to electrical problems, projects commercial airplanes deliveries of 635 to 645 for the year 2013.
"Our first order of business for 2013 is to resolve the battery issue on the 787 and return the airplanes safely to service with our customers," McNerney said.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $66.82 to $78.02, ended Tuesday's regular trading at $73.65.