At Textron, Cessna Down but Bell Helicopter Up

 - January 23, 2014, 3:10 PM

Cessna Aircraft delivered 139 jets last year, down from 181 in 2012, but Scott Donnelly, chairman and CEO at parent company Textron, said yesterday during the fourth-quarter investor conference call that deliveries are expected to increase this year thanks to new aircraft such as the Citation M2, Sovereign+ and revamped X. The former two aircraft were certified last month, while the Mach 0.935 Citation X is slated to get the FAA’s blessing in March or April.

“New products matter a lot,” he said. Though he characterized the light and midsize jet markets as “still challenging,” Donnelly said that “new products drive growth…[and] most of what we are anticipating in terms of growth is really driven by new products.”

In the fourth quarter, revenues at Cessna rose $22 million year-over-year, to $923 million, while profits were up $10 million, to $33 million. For the year, however, revenues at the Wichita aircraft manufacturer were down–$2.784 billion versus $3.111 billion in 2012–and the company lost $48 million in 2013 versus an $82 million gain in 2012. The outlook is for revenues to increase 19 percent at Cessna this year.

At sister company Bell, civil helicopter shipments climbed 15 percent last year to 213 aircraft. Full-year revenues at Bell were $4.511 billion, up from $4.274 billion in 2012, but profits fell from $639 million to $573 million, attributable mainly to labor issues at its plants in Texas. According to Donnelly, revenues at Bell this year will be flat or just slightly up from 2013.