Boeing pulls its financial forecast for 2019 due to 737 Max uncertainty

"This is a challenging time for our customers, stakeholders and the company,” said the head of Boeing.
Image: Boeing 737 MAX
A Boeing 737 MAX 8 being built for Oman Air taxis at Boeing Field on March 22, 2019, in Seattle, Washington.Ted S. Warren / AP

Breaking News Emails

Get breaking news alerts and special reports. The news and stories that matter, delivered weekday mornings.
SUBSCRIBE
/ Source: CNBC.com
By Michael Sheetz, CNBC

Boeing announced Wednesday it will pause share buybacks and is withdrawing its full year 2019 financial forecast while it works through issues surrounding its 737 Max aircraft, whose software is suspected in two deadly crashes.

Boeing said the previous guidance “does not reflect 737 Max impacts.” The company’s presentation to shareholders noted the commercial airplane business had $1 billion in increased costs due to the 737 production line.

The company also delivered first-quarter earnings that were in line with Wall Street expectations while revenue was lighter than expected. Boeing’s cash flow fell nearly 10 percent, to $2.8 billion this quarter from $3.1 billion the previous quarter, specifically citing lower 737 aircraft deliveries.

Shares of Boeing initially fell in premarket trading after the release but bounced back, trading up more than 1 percent from Tuesday’s close.

“Across the company, we are focused on safety, returning the 737 Max to service, and earning and re-earning the trust and confidence of customers, regulators and the flying public,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Dennis Muilenburg said in a statement, adding that this is “a challenging time for our customers, stakeholders and the company.”

Boeing said it has completed more than 135 test and production flights of updated software for the 737 Max. The Federal Aviation Administration, as well as regulators around the world, grounded the airplane in mid-March after the crash of an Ethiopian Airlines plane. That crash came five months after a Lion Air 737 Max crashed in Indonesia. A total of 346 people died in the crashes.

Boeing reported a total order backlog for its commercial airplane business of $399 billion, citing more than 5,600 orders. That is down from the previous quarter, which had an order backlog of $412 billion with more than 5,900 orders.