A week ago, Boeing released 2012 results [PDF, 223KB]. The company reported revenues of almost 81.7bn$, 601 commercial deliveries and 1,203 net orders for its commercial aircraft. All these were widely reported by the media and mean a great year 2012 for Boeing (with increases in these metrics from 20 to 30%).
Last years, I wrote in some posts what was my estimate of Boeing discounts: the relation between what is announced by the press, what appears in its list prices and sometimes as backlogs and what it is indeed computed into the profit and loss account. In this post I wanted to update, if necessary, the figure I calculated for the average discount of Boeing.
Most of the necessary information can be found in its website. Boeing list prices can be found here.
The number of gross and net orders (after cancellations) year by year can be found here.
Last year deliveries can be found in the report of financial results (or here). From there we can also deduct the figure of Boeing Commercial’s sales of services. That is not directly reported but can be deducted (all Boeing services-related sales are reported as well as Boeing Capital Corporation division and Boeing Defense’s “Global Services & Support” unit)
As in the post of last year:
- I needed to make one assumption: new orders come with a 3% down payment in the year of the booking, while the remaining cost I assumed that was paid on the year of delivery (for simplicity I didn’t consider more intermediate revenue recognition milestones linked to payments, the 3% figure was taken from the AIAA paper “A Hierarchical Aircraft Life Cycle Cost Analysis Model” by William J. Marx et al.). 
Having put all the figures together, the calculation is immediate. Boeing Commercial Aircraft revenues in 2012 (49,1bn$) are the sum of:
- the discounted prices times the delivered aircraft in the year (including possible penalties from delays),
- less the down payment of the current year delivered aircraft, as the down payment was included in previous years results,
- plus the down payment of current year net orders (this year’s calculation has been again a bit tricky as it included 737NG deliveries and 737 MAX orders),
- plus services revenues (about 1.4bn$ from the commercial aircraft unit – calculated, not reported).
The discount figure that minimized errors last year was 41%. Using this figure, the error obtained this year in relation to Boeing Commercial Aircraft reported revenues is 7.5%, much too high. The best estimate for last years average discounts were: 41% for 2011, 39% for 2010 and 38% for 2009.
The updated figure (which minimize errors for 2012 down to 0.4%) for the discount for Boeing commercial aircraft is 45% .
The explanation I can find for that increase shall be linked the built-in penalties for 787 (net orders for 2012 being -12 a/c) and 747 delays (1 single net order) into revenues plus the launch of a new aircraft, 737 MAX (forced by A320neo sales success in 2011).
 Two years ago, I received a comment from the analyst Scott Hamilton on the level of downpayments. He mentioned they could reach up to 30%. I tried this time to compute the calculation using that input, though the figures of discounts to be applied each year to minimize errors would have to be even higher, over 50% (!), thus I stayed with the 3% used in the above-mentioned published paper to stay on the conservative side.