Cessna Flat, Bell Rises at Textron

 - October 18, 2012, 3:30 PM

Third-quarter earnings at Cessna Aircraft and Bell Helicopter parent company Textron rose 6.6 percent year-over-year, to $3 billion, though its manufacturing segment profits slid by $6 million to $254 million. Half of that decrease was attributable to Cessna, which showed a pre-tax profit of $30 million in the quarter versus $33 million last year. But pre-tax quarterly profits at Bell soared by $22 million, to $165 million.

Despite delivering 41 Citations in the quarter versus 46 in the same period last year, revenues at Cessna climbed by $7 million, to $778 million. This was due in large part to $30 million more in pre-owned jet sales, which Textron chairman and CEO Scott Donnelly conceded have “zero margin.” He also noted a “weak” business jet sales environment, especially in July and August, though demand did pick up last month. With a book-to-bill ratio of only 0.85:1, Cessna saw its backlog fall by $196 million on a quarter-over-quarter basis to $1.3 billion at the end of last month.

Meanwhile, Bell Helicopter’s revenues increased $181 million in the third quarter versus a year ago, primarily reflecting deliveries of 46 civil helicopters–20 more than last year. However, Bell’s backlog at the end of the second quarter was $6.3 billion, down $434 million from the second quarter.