Textron: Cessna Can Weather Worst-case Downturn

 - January 24, 2008, 10:39 AM

With a year-end record backlog of $12.6 billion, up 48 percent from $8.5 billion at the end of 2006, Cessna will be able to weather any economic storm, parent company Textron said this morning during an investor conference call. “We’ve scoured the backlog pretty well, and we’re confident of the depth and strength of the backlog,” noted Textron chairman, president and CEO Lewis Campbell. “And we’ve researched the previous economic downturns and found that the one that ended in 2003 was the worst in Cessna’s history. Using this as a worst-case scenario today, Cessna would still have a 20-month backlog in 2010,” the projected recovery date of any impending economic downturn. This is because the current backlog for the 2007 to 2009 period is 82 percent more than it was in the 2001 to 2003 timeframe, he said. “But if there’s something coming, we certainly can’t see it,” noting that the main business jet economic indicators remain strong and the Cessna sales force is “bullish.” Meanwhile, Cessna continues to be the shining star at Textron, with fourth-quarter revenues and segment profit up $329 million and $75 million, respectively, over the year-ago period. The manufacturer delivered 387 Citations last year and expects to deliver about 470 business jets this year.