It will be a big week for EADS and Boeing on a variety of topics:
- January 26 is Boeing’s year-end earnings call. More guidance on 787 deliveries and speculation of potential writes-offs mounts.
- On #1′s former, we think 787 deliveries will be stretched out, even after first delivery, due to the increasingly-talked about skip-in-sequence delivery stream. Boeing officials, readers may recall, are openly talking about skipping the first completed block of airplanes for retrofit (this would be 7-25 or so) and skipping to the next block (26/27 or whatever) for first delivery and delivery stream. The first block would likely start seeing deliveries in 2012, under this scenario discussed by some Wall Street analysts, notably at Credit Suisse.
- On the latter point in #1, there is increasing speculation that there could be write-offs for the 787 and 747-8 programs. We’re not sure Boeing is “there” quite yet. We certainly don’t expect at this time a forward loss on the 787, but test planes 4-6 might see a write off. It is widely believed the 787 accounting block will be around 1,000, but this won’t be set until first delivery. A forward loss, if any, would likely be computed at that time. As for 747-8, this program is stagnant. Although there were two cancellations, from Guggenheim Partners, in the fourth quarter, these airplanes will almost certainly be assumed by Korean Air Lines, for which they were intended anyhow. But there are no new orders. Boeing’s CEO, Jim McNerney, on previous earnings calls, said the program would be profitable if some 350 747s are sold (this after a previous write off of more than $1bn, it will be recalled). We think this is wishful thinking. Wall Street seems to as well, expecting another write-off. Continue reading