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Spirit AeroSystems 1Q profit beats expectations

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- Spirit AeroSystems, which makes large sections of airplanes assembled by companies such as Boeing and Airbus, saw its first-quarter net income rise 10 percent as demand for commercial planes increased.

Spirit breezed past Wall Street's profit expectations and shares rose more than 2 percent in early trading.

Deliveries for commercial airplanes rose 9 percent from a year earlier and production is accelerating on several of the key passenger jets made by Boeing and Airbus.

Spirit earned $81 million, or 57 cents per share, for the quarter that ended March 31. That was up from $74 million, or 52 cents per share, during the same period last year. Revenue rose 14 percent to $1.44 billion, from $1.23 billion a year earlier.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet had been expecting a profit of 47 cents per share on revenue of $1.4 billion.

The earnings growth came despite a pre-tax $15 million charge because of higher costs to make the wing for the Boeing 787.

While deliveries of finished 787s were halted for nearly the entire quarter because of malfuncting batteries, production by Boeing and its suppliers continued. Spirit delivered sections for 17 787s during the quarter, up from 15 during the fourth quarter of 2012.

Larry Lawson, the company's new president and CEO, said that Spirit would do a "comprehensive evaluation" of the development programs"in Tulsa, Wichita, Kinston, and St. Nazaire.

That is where sections of the 787 and the new Airbus A350 are made. Lawson said one of the company's goals in the future will be to cut costs in the manufacturing of new planes.

Spirit shares rose 45 cents to $20.19 in morning trading.