Boeing has built a big name for itself as one of the world's largest aerospace companies. It is the #2 maker of large commercial jets behind Airbus and the #2 defense contractor behind Lockheed Martin. In addition to commercial jet aircraft like the much anticipated 787 Dreamliner, the company manufactures military aircraft, including the Apache, the Chinook, and the Osprey. It also produces satellites, missile defense systems, and launch systems. These products are rounded out by a portfolio of services. Major customers include the US Department of Defense and NASA. Additionally, Boeing provides airplane financing and leasing services to both commercial and military customers.
Boeing's principal operations are in the US, Canada, and Australia, with some key suppliers and subcontractors located in Europe and Japan. Boeing makes about half of its total revenues in the US and the other half from international markets (primarily Europe, Asia/Pacific, and the Middle East).
Boeing operates through several segments. Boeing Commercial Airplanes designs, manufactures, and services commercial jet aircraft for both passengers and cargo. Models include the 737 narrow body, the fuel efficient 737 MAX, and the 747, 767, and 777 wide bodies. Commercial Airplanes continues to develop the 787 Dreamliner, more than 800 of which are on order by some 55 airlines around the world.
Three more segments - Boeing Military Aircraft, Network & Space Systems, and Global Services & Support - are collectively organized under Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS). BDS provides design, modification, and support services for large-scale systems, including missiles, munitions, aerial refuelers, transporters, and spacecraft. BDS acts as a systems integrator on several programs, including NASA's International Space Station and Missile Defense Agency's Ground-based Midcourse Defense.
Finally, fifth segment Boeing Capital Corporation (BCC) is a financing arm that generates support revenues for the company.
Despite the slow economy and the late launching of its Dreamliner jet, Boeing's revenue levels reached historic heights in 2012, capping out at almost $81.7 billion. This represents a 19% increase when compared to 2011. Its profits, however, declined slightly, dipping by 3% over the same time period.
The surge in revenues for 2012 was mainly due to a 36% increase in Commercial Airplanes revenues thanks to higher new airplane deliveries across all programs. Boeing was specifically helped by higher demand and increased revenues in the Middle East; this region's revenues soared by 88% and accounted for 13% of its overall revenues.
The key component for Boeing's growth involves the much anticipated launching of its fleet of 787 Dreamliner jets. Throughout 2012 and early 2013, the jets were plagued with problems regarding the plane's battery system. The Dreamliner is the first plane in the world to use lithium-ion batteries, which are lighter, hold more power, and are able to recharge more quickly. Throughout 2013 Boeing will be testing out the new battery system's design in hopes of the fleet restarting commercial flights within the year.
Another essential part of Boeing's strategy is winning US government contracts, which typically accounts for nearly 40% of the company's revenues each year. Boeing in 2011 was awarded a $35 billion contract for aerial refueling tankers from the US Air Force. The contract could be the largest awarded for some time as the Department of Defense faces budgetary constraints over the next 10 years. Because of cutbacks, the DoD is shifting course by shrinking ground forces and putting more emphasis on C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance), cyber and space technologies, special operations, and unmanned airborne systems (UAS). Boeing is aligning with this shift by making investments and acquisitions that enhance its capabilities in these areas.
In addition to acquisitions, Boeing maintains a joint venture with Aviation Industries Corporation of China called Boeing Tianjin Composites Co., Ltd. In 2011 the JV opened a new factory in China that produces components for 737, 767, 777, and 787 aircraft models and is expected to increase production capacity by 60% throughout 2013.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Boeing in 2013 acquired CPU Technology's Acalis business in a deal that helped Boeing address its global customers' need to protect warfighters from information-assurance attacks. Acalis microprocessors contain hardware and software that can guard mission-critical onboard systems in Boeing platforms. The acquisition was part of Boeing's strategy of increasing its vertical depth to differentiate its offerings and provide value for its global aerospace and defense customers.
State Street Corporation holds about a 14% stake in Boeing.