The Boeing Co. earned $181 million in the first quarter of 1995, a 38 percent plunge from $292 million a year earlier, a reflection of airline woes translating into fewer deliveries of commercial jetliners, the company said Monday.
A substantially lower tax rate due to research expenses prevented the earnings from dropping even further.
Earnings were 53 cents per share on sales of $5 billion, compared with 86 cents per share on sales of $6.3 billion in the first quarter of 1994.
Seattle-based Boeing, the state’s largest employer, delivered 59 commercial jetliners in the quarter ended March 31, compared with 82 a year earlier.
While sales dropped 20 percent, research and development expenses were just 4 percent lower, Boeing noted. The company spent $404 million on R&D; in the first quarter.
Boeing benefited from an income-tax-rate drop from 32.1 percent to 16.6 percent, primarily because of tax credits given for research and experimentation.
Analysts had been expecting a tax rate of about 25 percent, and the 16.6 percent rate added about a nickel per share to earnings beyond predictions, said Bill Whitlow of Pacific Crest Securities.
Whitlow said he also was impressed with Boeing’s continuing strong balance sheet, with $2.8 billion in cash and short-term investments at the end of the quarter, compared with $2.6 billion at the end of 1994.
He noted that Boeing has a big tax payment coming up on the B-2 bomber, and is spending heavily on development and flight testing of the new 777 jumbo jet.
“We keep expecting them to use cash and they just haven’t done it,” Whitlow said. “They’re essentially flying nine planes around without getting any money for them.”
The first 777 is scheduled to be delivered to United Airlines in May.
United Technologies Corp. reported Monday that first-quarter earnings doubled, citing strong gains in its Pratt & Whitney jet engine and Otis Elevator divisions and a year-earlier charge against earnings.
Earnings for the three months ended March 31 were $135 million, or $1.03 per share, compared with $67 million, or 50 cents per share, for the same period a year ago.
A change in accounting for an employee stock ownership program reduced Hartford, Conn.based UTC’s earnings by $31 million in the year-earlier quarter.
Revenues for the quarter rose 12 percent.
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