GD Upbeat about Gulfstream, Jet Aviation

 - January 30, 2009, 2:19 AM

Bucking the current economic tide, Gulfstream Aerospace and Jet Aviation parent company General Dynamics yesterday posted strong revenues and profits for 2008, thanks in no small part to its aerospace division. Overall the company posted $29.3 billion in revenues and $2.48 billion in profits last year, up from $27.2 billion and $2.1 billion in the respective previous periods. In the fourth quarter, the aerospace division recorded $1.5 billion in sales and $264 million in profits. In all of last year, Gulfstream and newly acquired Jet Aviation accounted for $5.5 billion in sales and more than $1 billion in profits. According to General Dynamics chairman and CEO Nicholas Chabraja, sales of large-cabin Gulfstreams are holding strong despite the economy, though sales of the midsize G150 and G200 “dramatically softened” since the middle of last year. He expects these trends to continue throughout this year. While Gulfstream’s backlog has slipped slightly year-over-year, Chabraja said that order intake is “stronger than expected,” fully due to increased orders for large-cabin jets. Gulfstream last year delivered 156 green aircraft (87 large cabin, 69 midsize), compared with 138 (79 large, 59 midsize) in 2007. This year Gulfstream expects to deliver 94 large-cabin jets (seven more than last year), but will more than halve midsize shipments to “about 30.” Chabraja said Gulfstream’s 2.5-year backlog for large-cabin jets should allow the division to “manage through” the tough economy.