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Bell Helicopter delivers fewer helicopters in first quarter, revenues drop

Bell Helicopter’s first-quarter revenues declined by 14 percent, but the Fort Worth-based helicopter maker was able to slightly increase its profits by $1 million due to “improved performance.”
Bell Helicopter’s first-quarter revenues declined by 14 percent, but the Fort Worth-based helicopter maker was able to slightly increase its profits by $1 million due to “improved performance.” mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

Bell Helicopter delivered fewer helicopters in the first quarter causing its revenues to drop by 14 percent to $697 million, Textron reported Wednesday.

Even though revenues declined, the Fort Worth-based helicopter maker was able to slightly increase its profits by $1 million due to “improved performance.” The company delivered 27 commercial helicopters, down from 30 in the same quarter last year, while V-22 deliveries stayed the same with six delivered in the quarter.

Textron, which is Bell’s parent company, said its net income decreased 32.6 percent to $101 million in the quarter. Revenues also declined 3.4 percent to $3.093 billion as it sold fewer business jets in its aviation division.

“At Bell, revenues were down on lower military volumes for the quarter due to the timing of the H-1 deliveries,” Textron chief executive Scott Donnelly told investors on a conference call, noting Bell delivered only three H-1s, down from 10 in the first quarter of 2016. “Despite the lower volumes in the quarter, Bell achieved an 11.9 percent operating margin.”

Bell ended the quarter with a $5.7 billion backlog, up $292 million from the end of 2016.

Textron closed its purchase of snowmobile maker, Arctic Cat, during the quarter and reported $22 million in special charges related to the acquisition.

Excluding one-time accounting charges, Textron reported earnings per share of 46 cents per share, matching Wall Street estimates. Shares of Textron [ticker: TXT] dropped $1.33, or almost 3 percent, to close at $46.01 on Wednesday.

Andrea Ahles: 817-390-7631, @Sky_Talk

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