Diversified manufacturer Textron Inc. posted stronger-than-expected results for the first quarter, helped by strong demand for helicopters, and said demand for business jets is recovering.
The company’s Bell helicopter arm notched a 59 percent surge in profit on a 33 percent rise in revenue, helping drive the bottom-line beat, and Chief Executive Scott Donnelly said demand for Cessna jets was also accelerating.
The world’s largest maker of corporate jets said on Wednesday that earnings came to $118 million, or 40 cents per share, compared with $29 million, or 9 cents per share, a year earlier.
Textron’s Cessna unit is showing signs of recovering from the deep slump in demand for corporate jets, Donnelly said.
“We continue to see improvement in customer activity,” Donnelly said. “New orders (in the first quarter) were higher than last year’s first, second and third quarters combined.”
The profit beat reflected strong growth at Bell and Textron’s industrial arm, which makes products including E-Z-Go golf carts and automotive components.
“The upside was driven by Bell and industrial,” said Jeff Sprague, an analyst at Vertical Research Partners. “The margin performance (at Bell) was solid and better than we expected.”
Revenue rose 15.2 percent to $2.86 billion from $2.48 billion, beating analysts’ estimates of $2.7 billion.
Textron affirmed its full-year profit forecast of $1.80 to $2.00 per share from continuing operations. The company said it expected revenue for the year to rise 11 percent to about $12.5 billion, driven by strong growth at Cessna and Bell.