Bell's Lower Quarterly Deliveries Won't Last, CEO Says

 - April 18, 2019, 11:32 AM
During the first quarter, Bell delivered a 407GXi to Shaanxi Helicopter in China, the first of an order for 100 of the light single from Shaanxi. (Photo: Bell)

Bell delivered fewer helicopters in the first three months of the year but managed to raise profit even with lower revenue, parent company Textron announced yesterday in its first-quarter 2019 earnings results. For the quarter, Bell delivered 30 commercial helicopters compared with 46 in the first quarter of 2018. Profit at the Fort Worth-based rotorcraft manufacturer was up by $17 million a year ago to $104 million, while revenue slipped 2 percent in the same period to $739 million.

Despite the lower deliveries and revenue, Textron CEO Scott Donnelly told analysts on yesterday's earnings call that he is upbeat about Bell’s prospects going forward. “We saw solid order activity in the quarter with multi-aircraft orders across all our commercial models,” he said. “And we expect to ramp commercial deliveries throughout the balance of the year.”

Donnelly noted during the quarter that Bell received Civil Aviation Administration of China certification for the Bell 407GXi, allowing first delivery of the light single to Shaanxi Helicopter, which has an order for 100 of the type to establish a helicopter EMS and public safety operation in the country.

Bell's backlog at the end of the quarter was $6.3 billion, a $459 million increase from the end of 2018.