Spirit Aero posts profit, says asset sale progressing

Reuters

* Cost-cutting aids third-quarter results

* Oklahoma sale process moving along, company says

* Shares up 7 pct

Nov 1 (Reuters) - Spirit AeroSystems Holdings Inc, amajor supplier of aircraft components to Boeing Co andAirbus, on Friday reported a higher-than-expectedquarterly profit as it cut costs, and its shares rose 7.8percent to a year high.

The company, whose profits have been hurt by cost overrunsin recent years, is cutting staff this year to reduce costs. It is also selling assets such as Oklahomaoperations that handle wing design for Gulfstream, a subsidiaryof General Dynamics Corp, and some Boeing jets.

Chief Executive Larry Lawson, a former Lockheed Martinexecutive, said on Friday that Spirit is talking with potentialbuyers for the Oklahoma operations and added the sales processwill likely extend into next year.

Spirit reported net income of $93.7 million, or 65 cents pershare, for the third quarter ended Sept. 26, compared with aloss of $134.4 million, or 94 cents a share, a year earlier.

Analysts had expected 60 cents a share, according to ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S.

Operating costs fell about 8 percent.

Airbus and Boeing expect aircraft demand to double to morethan $2 trillion over the next 20 years, as emerging marketsdrive passenger growth and airlines in developed markets look toreplace aging fleets with more fuel-efficient planes. Thosetrends bode well for Spirit AeroSystems, which makes fuselagesand wing systems.

"We had a productive quarter as we reduced costs andremained on track for our rate increases," Lawson said.

Spirit said revenue rose to $1.5 billion in the quarter from$1.36 billion a year earlier.

Backlog rose to $38 billion at the end of the third quarterfrom $34 billion a year ago.

The company's shares rose as high as $29.28, before tradingup $1.98, or 7.4 percent, at $28.77, at mid-afternoon on the NewYork Stock Exchange.

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