NEW YORK (CNNfn) - Boeing Co. beat analysts' earnings estimates for the first quarter Wednesday, although a strike by engineering employees helped lead to a drop in profits.|
The aerospace manufacturer reported earnings from operations of $359 million, or 41 cents a share, in the quarter. Analysts surveyed by earnings tracker First Call forecast the company would earn 35 cents. A year earlier, net income was $469 million, or 50 cents a share.
Boeing was aided by a $26 million after-tax gain on the sale of a long-held investment, and a $33 million gain in †interest income from a federal income tax audit settlement. Including those one-time items, net income was $418 million, or 48 cents a share.
Revenue fell 31 percent to $9.9 billion from $14.4 billion a year earlier. The company said that without a 40-day strike by engineering employees revenue would have slipped only 13 percent to $12.5 billion. Aircraft deliveries hit a record last year as airlines rushed to buy new planes before tougher new noise restrictions took effect Jan. 1.
The strike caused negative free cash flow, which reflects operating cash flow less capital expenditures, of $1.2 billion for the first quarter. But the operating margin improved to 5.6 percent from 5.1 percent a year earlier, and continues to improve, Boeing said.
Shares of Dow component Boeing fell 9/16 to 34-3/4 Tuesday.