Cessna and Bell Find Their Footing in 2011

 - January 26, 2012, 3:40 PM

Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron yesterday reported a loss of $19 million in the fourth quarter, versus a $60 million profit in the same period in 2010, despite increased revenues and profits at the two aerospace units. Though Cessna delivered 12 fewer Citations in the quarter compared with the previous year–67 versus 79–revenue climbed by $51 million, to $1.011 billion, thanks to a higher sales volume of pre-owned jets, piston singles and Caravan turboprop singles.

In addition, quarterly profits at the Wichita-based company increased by $37 million, to $60 million. In total, Cessna delivered 183 jets last year, four more than it shipped in 2010. Textron CEO Scott Donnelly said he expects jet deliveries to “be up moderately” at Cessna this year. The aircraft manufacturer’s backlog, however, fell to $1.9 billion at year-end, down $275 million from the close of the third quarter.

Meanwhile, revenues at Bell rose to $1.01 billion in the fourth quarter, up $35 million from the same period in 2010. The company’s profit increased by $29 million to $167 million, and its backlog surged by $981 million to $7.3 billion in the fourth quarter. “Looking to 2012, based on our current commercial backlog and customer activity under way,” Donnelly said, “we expect a significant increase in commercial deliveries from the 125 [civil helicopters] delivered in 2011.”