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Boeing Posts $1.7 Billion First Quarter Loss; Plans Deeper Job and Product Cuts, Insists It Can Tap Markets for Funding

Boeing says it's 'actively exploring all of the available options' and 'believes it will be able to obtain sufficient liquidity to fund its operations.'

Boeing Co.  (BA)  posted a wider-than-expected first quarter loss Wednesday, but insisted it could raise cash from financial markets and potentially avoid tapping government funds, and ceding equity, to steady the business.

Boeing said adjusted core non-GAAP earnings for the three months ending in March was pegged at a loss of $1.70 per share, or -$1.7 billion. compared to a $3.16 profit over the same period last year and a Street consensus forecast of $1.60 per share. Group revenues, Boeing said, plunged 26.25% to $16.9 billion, well shy of analysts' estimates of $17.306 billion.

Boeing said access to additional liquidity will be "critical" for the company, after its cash burn rate hit -$4.73 billion over the first quarter,  and said it was "actively exploring all of the available options" and believes it "will be able to obtain sufficient liquidity to fund its operations."  

"The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of our business, including airline customer demand, production continuity and supply chain stability," said CEO David Calhoun. "Our primary focus is the health and safety of our people and communities while we take tough but necessary action to navigate this unprecedented health crisis and adapt for a changed marketplace."  

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Boeing shares were marked 5.3% higher in early trading following the earnings release to change hands at $138.10 each.

In a separate email to employees, Calhoun said the planemaker will likely need to cut at least 10% of the company's workforce -- with deeper losses in commercial airplanes and services businesses -- citing the expected fall in global commercial airlines revenues of around $315 billion this year.

"The aviation industry will take years to return to the levels of traffic we saw just a few months ago,' Calhoun said. "We have to prepare for that. In today's first-quarter earnings disclosure, we will be announcing a number of steps we're taking to meet that new reality."