General Dynamics posted $29.3 billion in revenues and $2.48 billion in profits last year, up from $27.2 billion and $2.1 billion in the respective previous periods, but it was the aerospace division that contributed most impressively. In the fourth quarter, aerospace operations turned in $1.5 billion in sales and $264 million in profits. In all of 2008, Gulfstream and recently-acquired Jet Aviation accounted for $5.5 billion in sales and more than $1 billion in profits.
According to General Dynamics chairman and CEO Nicholas Chabraja, Gulfstream sales remain strong despite the economy, although the midsize G150 and G200 sales softened from mid-year onward. He expects the trend to continue through 2009.
While Gulfstream’s backlog has slipped slightly, Chabraja said that orders are “stronger than expected,” due entirely to growth in orders for large-cabin jets. Gulfstream delivered 156 green aircraft (87 large cabin, 69 midsize) last year, compared to 138 (79 large, 59 midsize) in 2007. This year, Gulfstream expects to deliver 94 large-cabin jets but midsize shipments will be off by more than half, to “about 30.” Chabraja said Gulfstream’s 2.5-year backlog for large-cabin jets should allow the division to “manage through” the tough economy