By Ankit Ajmera and Eric M. Johnson
(Reuters) – Boeing Co shares jumped on Wednesday as the world’s largest planemaker raised its profit and cash flow expectations for 2019 amid a boom in air travel, while indicating it had overcome supplier delays that snarled production last year.
Chicago-based Boeing said it expects to deliver between 895 and 905 commercial aircraft in 2019, up from 806 aircraft it delivered last year, which kept it ahead of rival Airbus SE for the seventh straight year.
Investors closely watch the number of planes Boeing turns over to airlines and leasing firms in a year for hints on the company’s cash flow and revenue.
Boeing’s shares rose 6.4 percent to $388.25 in early trading , helping lift U.S. stock futures.
Boeing raised its full-year core earnings per share forecast to $19.90-$20.10 from $14.90-$15.10, and revenue to a range of $109.5 billion to $111.5 billion, from $98 billion (75 billion pounds) to $100 billion, fueled by strong volume across its commercial, military and services businesses.
Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg said the company’s performance provides a “firm platform” to further invest in new innovation as the aviation industry is awaiting a 2019 decision on whether Boeing will move ahead with a new mid-sized aircraft dubbed NMA.
It also said the first all-new 777X widebody flight test airplane completed final body join and power-on, and the program remains on track for flight testing this year and first delivery in 2020.
The company forecast operating cash flow between $17 billion and $17.5 billion in 2019, compared with cash flow of $15.32 billion in 2018, and above analysts’ average estimate of $16.73 billion, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.
It expected 2019 core earnings between $19.90 per share and $20.10 per share, and revenue between $109.5 billion and $111.5 billion.
Those numbers indicate that the fuselage and engine delays at suppliers that dominated last year are largely behind Boeing. Even so, production logjams dragged down quarterly free cash flow to $2.45 billion, below the previous year.
Boeing’s core earnings rose to $5.48 per share in the fourth quarter, from $5.07 per share a year earlier, and came in above Wall Street’s estimate of $4.57 per share.
Quarterly revenue rose 14.4 percent to $28.34 billion, above analysts’ average expectation of $26.87 billion. Boeing’s 2018 revenue surpassed $100 billion for the first time in its 102-year history.
(Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru and Eric M. Johnson in Seattle; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Nick Zieminski)