Boeing and Airbus Ink Deals in Paris. Should You Buy Suppliers?

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"I love Paris When it Sizzles," Cole Porter

The Paris Air Show was a success for major airplane makers Airbus and Boeing. At the show, the two companies reported more than $160 billion in orders.

The orders add to an already large backlog of planes, providing stable multi-year growth for the aerospace suppliers Transdigm (NYSE: TDG), Hexcel (NYSE: HXL) and BE Aerospace (NASDAQ: BEAV).

A big show for new orders

Airbus and Boeing are always battling for orders at the high profile Paris and Farnborough Air shows, held in alternating years in France and the United Kingdom.

This year was no different. Airbus came out on top, notching deals for 466 planes worth more than $70 billion. In dollar terms, that just about matched the $72 billion sold at the 2011 Paris show.

At the 2013 show, Airbus orders were strongest from Asian operators, including Singapore Airlines, and U.S. operators, including United Airlines, who ordered 35 A350-1000s. Airbus took its A350XWB into the air for the first time above the show.

Boeing also had a strong showing. The company debut a 787-10 that can hold more passengers and inked agreements for 442 planes worth $66 billion. Boeing's Paris orders brought its net 2013 orders to 692 planes. That's a big showing compared to the 2011 Paris Air Show when Boeing reported orders worth $22 billion.

Overall, industry orders came in at roughly $170 billion at the Paris show.

The orders add to an already bulging backlog of planes

The new Airbus orders add to a backlog of 4,928 planes at the end of May. Boeing's backlog exited this Spring north of 4,400.

That has both manufacturers working closely with suppliers to ramp capacity to fuel faster production. Both makers view capacity growth as inevitable in order to meet an expected doubling of passenger planes over the next two decades.

Airbus entered 2012 with plans to build 570 planes, following production of 534 in 2011, thanks to a ramping of monthly A320 production to 42 per month. By year end it had delivered 588 aircraft, exceeding its plans.

Over at Boeing, the company delivered 601 planes last year and Boeing hopes to deliver even more this year as it increases 737 production from 38 a month to 42.

The swelling orders and ramping production schedule suggests aerospace suppliers are in for a multi-year run of stable revenue and profit growth.

Transdigm sole source model pins future on aftermarket growth

One of the beneficiaries of the rising demand is likely to be Transdigm, a company rolled out of Warburg Pincus private equity in 2006. Transdigm estimates 75% of its products are only available from its own warehouses and believes aftermarket replacement parts -- which generally haul in higher margins -- will rebound later in the decade as more planes take to the air and revenue passenger miles grow globally.

The company continues to roll up smaller players to bolster its position. In April, the company agreed to buy Aerosonic, with $30 million in sales of which 60% are aftermarket, for about $39 million. Last fall, Transdigm acquired Aero-Instruments and in February 2012, the company bought AmSafe, a maker of aerospace restraint systems, for $750 million. As a result, a lot of its current sales growth is coming from deals. But, organic sales still improved by nearly 2% last quarter from a year ago, and organic sales are expected to broadly track growth in revenue passenger miles, which grew 4% internationally in 2012 and 1.3% in the United States.

Hexcel profits are propped up across by planes and helicopters

Boeing and Airbus account for just about 85% of Hexcel's revenue, and next generation planes are increasingly being built with light weight composites like those sold by Hexcel.

As a result, Hexcel notched commercial aerospace growth of 10.8% last quarter. That growth is likely to continue since Hexcel's sales into next generation planes were up almost 20% during the quarter and now represent a third of the company's overall revenue.

Hexcel also has a solid defense business, selling rotorcraft for various helicopters including the V-22 Osprey, which gained approval to be sold to our foreign allies this year. At the Paris Air Show, Marine Corps Colonel Greg Masiello, who manages the Osprey program, suggested as many as 100 orders may come from foreign buyers for the $70 million apiece Osprey.

BE Aerospace position in cabin interiors offers investor comfort

The FAA's expectations revenue passenger miles will nearly double over the next twenty years suggests a significant amount of demand for seats and interior cabin refreshes. Particularly significant is the growing globalization of air travel in emerging markets like Asia. The rising demand from Asian operators drove BE's sales in the region up 36% last quarter, accounting for 28% of total revenue.

Much like Hexcel, next generation crafts are having a positive impact on revenue. Sales for those programs represented 61% of sales last quarter. With a backlog of $8.3 billion and expectations for future production bumps at Boeing and Airbus, the company should continue its winning ways. But, its not just the major commercial planes supporting the company's growth. Sales for business jets have also improved, increasing 11.3% in Q1.

The final take

The pace setting orders recorded last month in Paris add to an already mountainous backlog at major aircraft makers. This increases the pressure on Boeing and Airbus to encourage additional capacity growth at major suppliers like these three. Given the potential overseas as emerging markets develop, establishing positions in airline suppliers appears to make sense.


Todd Campbell has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends TransDigm Group. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. Is this post wrong? Click here. Think you can do better? Join us and write your own!

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