US aerospace giant Boeing reported Wednesday first-quarter net profit soared 38 percent from a year ago and reaffirmed its 2015 forecasts as 787 Dreamliner production costs continued to rise.
Net earnings totaled $1.34 billion in the first three months of the year, compared with $965 million in the 2014 first quarter. Adjusted earnings of $1.97 per share came in well above Wall Street's consensus estimate of $1.81.
Higher commercial aircraft deliveries pushed revenue to $22.15 billion, up eight percent from a year ago but slightly below the $22.49 billion analysts expected.
"The strong operational and financial performance reinforces our ability to continue providing competitive returns for our shareholders while investing in technology and our people," said Boeing chairman and chief executive Jim McNerney in a statement.
The Boeing Company said it ended the first quarter with a $9.6 billion cash cushion, after repurchasing 17 million shares for $2.5 billion. It raised dividends by about 25 percent compared with a year ago and planned to repurchase the remaining $9.5 billion shares in its buyback program over the next two to three years.
The Chicago-based company finished the first quarter with a total company backlog of orders worth $495 billion, including more than 5,700 aircraft orders.
During the first quarter, deliveries rose 14 percent to 184 jetliners, lifting the Commercial Airplanes segment's revenue by 21 percent to $15.4 billion. Net revenue for the division rose eight percent to $1.61 billion.
Boeing booked 110 net orders, with almost half of them for its new version of the best-selling 737 workhorse, the 737 MAX.
But the costs of producing its high-tech 787 Dreamliner, which entered service in 2011 in a program beset with delays and safety issues, continued to rise, according to a separate Boeing document.
The deferred production cost for the 787 totaled $26.94 billion in the first quarter, up three percent from the 2014 final quarter and 16.5 percent from a year ago.
Boeing's Defense, Space & Security business saw revenue fall 12 percent from a year ago to $6.71 billion amid US defense spending cutbacks. About a third of its backlog represented orders from international customers.
Boeing confirmed its 2015 revenue forecast of $94.5-96.5 billion, and adjusted earnings per share of $8.20-8.40.
Boeing expects to deliver 750-755 commercial aircraft this year, with that division producing revenue of $64.5-65.5 billion.
Shares in Dow member Boeing fell 2.3 percent to $151.00 in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.