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Originally published January 25, 2012 at 5:56 AM | Page modified January 25, 2012 at 9:58 PM

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Boeing 4Q profit up as plane deliveries take off

Quicker deliveries of Boeing's commercial airplane helped it report a 20 percent jump in fourth-quarter profit, but the company also offered a weaker earnings outlook than analysts expected for 2012.

AP Business Writer

Summary Box: Boeing earnings

What's bigger: Planes. Revenue from Boeing's commercial aircraft is expected to grow at least 30 percent. It plans at least 585 deliveries, up from 477 in 2011.

What's smaller: Defense. The U.S. and Europe are cutting military spending. Revenue in its defense unit is expected to fall roughly 5 percent this year.

What's next: Not counting special items, Boeing predicted a 2012 profit above what analysts had been expecting. Company-wide revenue is expected to rise at least 13 percent.

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Quicker deliveries of Boeing's commercial airplane helped it report a 20-percent jump in fourth-quarter profits, and offset sluggish growth in its defense business.

The company also offered a weaker earnings outlook than analysts expected for 2012.

Boeing posted net income of $1.39 billion Wednesday, or $1.84 per share. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected $1 per share. Revenue was $19.56 billion, also better than expected.

Boeing delivered 128 commercial planes during the quarter, up from 116 a year ago. Profits from commercial planes jumped 56 percent. Revenue rose 31 percent.

Profits from defense rose 6 percent. Revenue rose 4 percent. Military spending in the U.S. and Europe is slowing, and Boeing says defense revenue will fall roughly 5 percent in 2012.

Boeing predicted a 2012 profit of $4.05 to $4.25 per share. Analysts had been expecting a profit of $4.90 per share. Not counting 83 cents per share in higher-than-expected pension expense and other one-time items, Boeing expects an adjusted profit of $5.06 to $5.26 per share.

The company forecast revenue of $78 billion to $80 billion. Analysts were expecting $78.45 billion.

Boeing, based in Chicago, says it plans to deliver 585 to 600 commercial planes this year, up from 477 last year. It delivered three of its new 787s last year, and nine of its new 747-8 superjumbo jets. Boeing says revenue from commercial planes will grow at least 31 percent this year.

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