Boeing has built a big name for itself as one of the world's largest aerospace companies. 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 40% of its total revenues in the US and about 60% 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 (N&SS), 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 2014, capping out at almost $81 billion. This represents a 5% increase when compared to 2013. Its profits jumped 19% from $4.6 billion in 2013 to roughly $5.5 billion in 2014 due to lower expenses for the year. (Both these 2014 totals represented company milestones.)
The historic growth for 2014 was mainly due to a 13% increase in Commercial Airplanes revenues thanks to higher new airplane deliveries across all programs. Sales from Africa skyrocketed by more than 300% from 2013 to 2014. Other markets with rising sales included Europe (12%), Canada (28%), Oceania (6%), and China (4%). These increases were offset by a 12% drop in Military Aircraft sales during 2014.
Being's operating cash flow has also exploded over the last four years, climbing from $2.95 billion in 2010 to nearly $8.7 billion in 2014.
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 tested out the new battery system's design in hopes of the fleet restarting commercial flights within the year.
Flight testing of the 787-9 Dreamliner variant occurred in 2014, and its first delivery was in mid-2014. The 787-10 is on plan for first delivery in 2018 and will incorporate a high degree of shared design elements and parts commonality with the 787-9 to likewise minimize risk and lower development and fleet maintenance costs. The 777X (Boeing's newest twin-engine jet, with 12% lower fuel consumption and 10% lower operating costs than its competitors) is slated for firm configuration in 2015 and first delivery in 2020.
Another essential part of Boeing's strategy is winning US government contracts, which typically accounts for nearly 35% 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.
Mergers and Acquisitions
In 2014 the company acquired Ventura Solutions, a hardware and software engineering company that provides custom products and services for government customers. Ventura will operate as part of Boeing Network & Space Systems. Also in 2014, Boeing picked up AerData Group B.V., a Netherlands-based provider of integrated software products for lease management, engine fleet planning, and records management. AerData's products will become part of Boeing Edge, an integrated suite of aviation services.
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.