Problems related to the ongoing grounding of airlines’ fleets of Boeing’s [BA] 737 MAX passenger airplanes led the company on Thursday to announce it will take a $4.9 billion after-tax charge in its second quarter financial results, which will be released on July 24.
The charge will chop $8.74 earnings per share from the bottom line results, Boeing said. The company also said the charge will result in a $5.6 billion reduction in sales in the quarter.
The charge assumes that the 737 MAX will return to service early in the fourth quarter of 2019, Boeing said, noting though that the timing could change. If the grounding continues, there could be additional charges, the company said.
The charge relates to “potential concessions and other considerations to customers” from the grounding and delivery delays of the 737 MAX, which suffered two fatal crashes, one last October and another in March. The aircraft have been grounded since March while Boeing works on fixes.
Boeing also said its profit margin on the 737 will be reduced in the second quarter and in future quarters due to a $1.7 billion increase in estimated production costs.
Boeing said it won’t update its financial guidance until it has a better understanding of when the aircraft will return to service.
“We are taking appropriate steps to manage our liquidity and increase our balance sheet flexibility the best way possible as we are working through these challenges,” Greg Smith, chief financial officer and executive vice president of Enterprise Performance and Strategy at Boeing, said in a statement. “Our multi-year efforts on disciplined cash management and maintaining a strong balance sheet, in addition to our strong and broad portfolio offerings, are helping us navigate the current environment.”
Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing’s chairman, president and CEO, said in a statement that the company’s response to the 737 MAX tragedies “is a defining moment for Boeing. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the flight crews and passengers who fly on our airplanes. The MAX grounding presents significant headwinds and the financial impact recognized this quarter reflects the current challenges and helps to address future financial risks.”