Textron books strong second quarter

 - July 30, 2008, 6:40 AM

Buoyed by its Bell and Cessna properties, Textron reported second-quarter profits up 23 percent from the same period last year, chairman, president and CEO Lewis Campbell announced last month. Pointing to a backlog of 1,638 business jets at Cessna, Textron reaffirmed its outlook for the remainder of this year and forecast a solid market for the Citation line through 2011.

Even against a negative economic backdrop, “the story at Cessna remains extremely strong,” said Campbell. The Wichita-based manufacturer expects to deliver 470 business jets this year, up 21 percent from last year. Second-quarter revenues at Cessna increased by $289 million over the same period last year, reflecting delivery of 117 business jets compared with 95 the previous year. The hottest airplane in the Citation line is the Mustang very light jet. The company expects to deliver 100 this year and as many as 150 next year. Lewis attributed Cessna’s solid performance in large part to the growth in orders from outside the U.S., a trend he expects to continue.

In the second quarter Bell posted an increase in revenues (up $102 million compared with last year) and profits–up $61 million–on the strength of the government market. The news was not so good for the company’s commercial helicopter business, where revenues increased but profit was down $3 million. The dip in profit was attributed to “inflation, unfavorable cost performance and lower volume.” Putting a positive spin on the commercial helicopter outlook, Textron noted that the backlog, which stretches into 2014, is “the largest we’ve ever had.”