Bell – selling more, getting less


Bell delivered 46 commercial helicopters in the first quarter of 2018, up from the 27 sold in the same period last year, but revenues from commercial sales fell.

Textron’s first-quarter report for 2018 showed a growth in overall revenue and profit for Bell. However, the company has reported lower but unspecified commercial revenues than Q1 2017 due to the type of aircraft it sold.  The breakdown of the types helicopters sold was not disclosed, nor was the commercial revenue figure, though as a whole Bell’s quarterly revenue rose by 8% to $752 million, with greater military revenue being off-set by lower commercial sales revenue.

Bell was also Textron’s most profitable manufacturing segment this year’s first quarter, generating $87 million in profit, up from the $83 million in the first quarter last year, representing a 4.8% growth. Textron attributes this growth to the higher volume of aircraft sold. It closed off the first quarter with a $3.6 billion backlog.

The company also netted $752 million in revenue in the first quarter, up from the $697 million in the same period of last year. While Bell was the most profitable Textron subsidiary, its quarterly revenue was lower than those of subsidiaries Textron Aviation (comprising Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker) and its industrial business (including Cushman and Textron off-road which manufacturer 4×4 utility vehicles) generated $1 billion and $1.1 billion in revenue respectively.

From Textron’s manufacturing business, cash flow from the first quarter reached $179 million, up from $94 million last year.

Textron also bought back more shares (common stock) this quarter, repurchasing $344 million shares from shareholders in the first three months of 2018 as opposed to the $186 million bought back in 2017. The company is in the process of selling its Tools & Test Equipment business shares engineering firm Emerson for $810 million and will use the proceeds to continue its share buy-back programme.