Boeing striving to boost profit margins in surging jetliner business, CEO says

Boeing (BA) expects its defense business to continue facing a tough environment with "flatish" profit margins, Jim McNerney says.

But the CEO says the commercial jetliner business is stronger than he's seen it in his career, and business margins have room to widen due to faster jet production and the ability to get better prices from suppliers.

Higher aircraft production rates and BA's efficiency efforts drive opportunities to improve cash flow over the next three years, McNerney says, adding that the forecast decline in free cash flow this year largely reflects one-time factors.

Boeing likely will announce new aircraft orders at next week's Singapore Airshow but not at the level of the record orders announced last November, he says.

Shares finished lower for the sixth straight session (-0.5%), and have dropped 11% YTD.

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