Boeing earnings rise on tax credit

US aerospace giant Boeing Wednesday reported higher first quarter earnings due to a tax credit, despite fewer deliveries of its problem-plagued Boeing 787.

Net income for the quarter came in at $1.1 billion, up 20 percent from the year-earlier period of $923 million. That translated into earnings per share of $1.44.

The earnings were boosted by a $145 million, or 19 cents per share gain, for a 2012 research and development tax credit.

Revenues were $18.9 billion, down 3 percent from the same period last year.

The tax credit and slightly lower expenses helped offset the effects of 2 percent lower operating earnings compared with last year. Boeing's workforce was 173,100, down 1,300 from the year-earlier period.

Boeing, which has said the 787 problems would not significantly affect company earnings, also reaffirmed its 2013 profit forecast.

Boeing last week received approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to implement its fix to the 787's battery, which had overheated in some commercial flights.

Boeing only delivered one 787 in the most recent quarter, down from five in the year-earlier period. Overall commercial deliveries were flat compared with last year at 137.

"Our first priority in the days ahead is to fully restore our customers' 787 fleets to service and resume production deliveries," said chief executive officer Jim McNerney. "Our outlook for the year is positive, and our financial and delivery guidance is reaffirmed."

Boeing's "core earnings", a closely-watched benchmark that excludes pension and post-retirement expenses, came in at $1.73 per share, compared with analyst expectations of $1.48 per share.

Total company backlog at year-end was a record $392 billion, up from $390 billion at the beginning of the year.

Boeing shares were up 3.2 percent in pre-market trading.