19 Oct

Hard times for Boeing, long a symbol of American might

first_imgFaced with the calamitous fallout from the coronavirus on airline customers and the broader economy, Boeing found itself in an unfamiliar and uncomfortable position in March.The company, a longtime symbol of American industrial power, was unable to raise the funds to finance its business.Since that low point as the coronavirus health crisis was mushrooming into an economic crisis, private bond markets have improved considerably, enabling Boeing to fill its liquidity gap with US$25 billion in bonds issued last month.  But that bitter reality at the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic underscores how deeply the 103-year-old company has fallen, in no small part due to its own missteps.Boeing, which alone accounts for about one percent of US gross domestic product, has suffered numerous canceled orders for the 737 MAX, the jet that has been grounded for more than a year following two crashes that killed 346 people.Demand has also diminished the 787 “Dreamliner” amid the downturn in commercial air travel, adding to its woes.”Boeing has serious financial challenges,” said Stan Sorscher, a former Boeing engineer. “Air travel is down, aircraft are grounded, airline customers don’t need new airplanes, and capacity in the supplier network is questionable.” Boeing chief executive David Calhoun has insisted Boeing will weather the crisis though he acknowledged the company lost ground through its own actions.”There is no question that the MAX problems, the accidents, set us back and set us back for roughly two years,” Calhoun said earlier this month on Fox Business Network.Avoiding a bailoutEven throughout this rocky period, Boeing has continued to enjoy success in its defense business.But the company will need to show evidence of a genuine turnaround in its civil aviation division following the MAX crisis, which revealed problems with corporate culture that critics say showed the Boeing cut corners on safety to meet profit goals.Credit ratings agencies have punished the company, downgrading its debt to just above junk status.But Boeing’s clout in Washington has cushioned it from being seen as a likely candidate for bankruptcy, even during the current slump.The company’s supply chain consists of some 17,000 companies in the United States employing 2.5 million workers.Early in the crisis, Boeing had sought $60 billion in federal support and won strong backing from key players in Washington, including US President Donald Trump, who said in April, “We can’t let anything happen to Boeing.”But Calhoun expressed misgivings about how support from the US Treasury would be structured and the conditions imposed. In addition to barring the company from paying dividends, the government could have demanded a stake in the company.Instead, Boeing benefited from a series of emergency steps by the Federal Reserve that boosted liquidity in the corporate debt market and opened the door to its $25 billion bond offering, the sixth largest in history.But issuing debt means Boeing will have to pay higher interest if its credit rating is downgraded further.MAX outlook hazyWith the latest infusion of funds, Boeing is “pretty sound financially,” according to a banking source who has advised Boeing. “Investors believe in this story longer term and are willing to lend to this company in the short term,” the source said. “There is some expectation that it might take time.”But Calhoun has cautioned it could take up to five years for the aviation industry to recover to its pre-coronavirus growth levels.Boeing plans to trim its production of the widebody 787 to 10 per month this year  from 14 at the start of 2020, and cut down to seven a month in 2022.Meanwhile, archrival Airbus stands as well positioned for the post-pandemic period because of its advantage in the narrow-body planes.As the airline market recovers, there likely will be stronger demand for smaller jets like the Airbus A320neo, which require less fuel and have fewer seats to fill.”Long-term, Boeing’s product line, in total, is inferior to Airbus. The 787 is strong, but demand is weak,” said Scott Hamilton, managing editor of Leeham News, which covers aviation.”The Boeing 777X is a good airplane but the market has passed it by,” he said adding that “The MAX family line is inferior to the A320neo family. Boeing doesn’t have a viable competitor to the A220.”The timeframe for the MAX’ return to service remains hazy. Airlines canceled 258 orders for the plane in March and April.Boeing has said it aims to win government approval for the MAX to return in mid-2020, but regulatory sources told AFP that there will be no test flight before June.Boeing plans to cut 10 percent of its staff, or about 16,000 jobs, to save money. It also could cut one of the 787 assembly plants, or move other engineering staff to cut costs, aviation sources said.Boeing is “cutting new program development spending and retreating from any signs of a new product launch,” said Richard Aboulafia, aviation expert at Teal Group, a research firm specializing in aviation and defense. “They just went an entire decade without launching a single all-new product, only the second decade that’s happened in company history. And there are no signs of anything happening in the decade ahead.”Topics :last_img read more

17 Aug

Lakers’ Kentavious Caldwell-Pope breaking out offensively after taking backseat to start season

first_imgEL SEGUNDO — The Lakers’ decision to sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope over the summer hinged on the organization’s belief that he could be a mentor to their stable of young players.That’s among the many responsibilities the fifth-year veteran has taken on early in his Lakers tenure, despite those players’ reluctance to seek out help.“All the young guys are shy,” Caldwell-Pope said, “so I just try to be that leader and go to them, not wait for them to come to me.”The punch line here is that Caldwell-Pope hardly reads as an outgoing locker room presence. He speaks softly, with a gentle Georgia cadence. Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error As the rest of the Lakers have grown more comfortable in the system, however, Walton has loosened some of the restrictions on his starting shooting guard.“I think a lot of his focus was on what we were asking him,” Walton said. “That was our defense, that was our rebounding, that was being an example by sacrificing your own open shots to get other guys shots. And a lot of times those weren’t coming back to him like they’re supposed to when you play that way.”Twenty-one games into the season, it finally is.There are many ways to spend $18 million, but the Lakers chose to use it last summer on Caldwell-Pope, an athletic wing who was angling for a maximum deal from the Detroit Pistons but settled for a one-year audition with the Lakers instead.His 14.6 points per game is steady with his career numbers, while his 42.2 percent from the field and 35.4 percent from 3-point range would both be career highs for a season.“There’s always going to be some give and take,” Walton said, “but he’s always been a pretty good scorer.”center_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREUCLA alum Kenny Clark signs four-year contract extension with PackersOn the floor, however, he has recently emerged as one of the Lakers’ most confident figures, attempting 32 3-pointers over his last four games. It’s a stretch that registers as one of the most productive of his career. He has scored better than 20 points in four straight games, a career high, including a 29-point outburst against the Clippers on Monday.Early in the season, Caldwell-Pope’s game matched his quiet demeanor. He chipped in when necessary, but hardly asserted himself. It turns out, that was by design.“I had asked him to kind of tone down on some of the shots,” Coach Luke Walton said. “As far as being one of the vets on the court, to help show how we want to play, and that means getting in the lane and making extra passes.”It all comes back to “playing the right way,” a constant refrain from Walton and the Lakers’ coaches.“That’s all I was trying to do,” Caldwell-Pope said. “Get my teammates involved more, try to get the ball moving, try to make that contagious for everybody else and passing up the open shots when I had open shots.”last_img read more

14 Jan

LMA Prez Wants Gov’t to Tackle Dual Currency Issue

first_imgThe president of the Liberia Marketing Association (LMA), Madam Lusu K. Sloan, has called on the government to address the issue of dual currency in the country.  Madam Sloan made the call, recently at a roundtable symposium on the economic and constitutional implications of Liberia’s dual currency regime in Monrovia.  The round table discussion was organized by the Governance Commission in partnership with the Constitution Review Committee, and it brought together several state actors from public and private sectors.  According to Madam Sloan, business women and petty traders are calling for local business transactions to be done in Liberian dollars.  She said local traders are not making profit because they are buying their goods in US dollars from foreign importers and selling them in Liberian dollars.  As a result, the LMA president said, local traders, especially market women, are selling without adequate income from the business to better their living conditions.  She stressed that dual currency is causing instability of the Liberian economy and not improving the livelihood of local marketers or the economy.  The LMA boss highlighted that dual currency is increasing countless problems as many schools are charging fees in US dollars, instead of in Liberian dollars. “We actually want the government and those that are in charge to look at the situation carefully; we are selling our goods and services in Liberian dollars, but some schools are charging fees in US dollars. I don’t think it is supposed to be that way. You can’t have your school in Liberia and charge the parents in US dollars,” she said.Madam Sloan indicated that foreign importers are taking excess US dollars from Liberia to develop their countries, while Liberia remains under-developed.  “Buying in US dollars from the importers, selling the goods in Liberian dollars and at the end of the day you have to change the Liberian dollars to US dollars to re-buy drops the profit margin. So you see, more money is going out of the country on a daily basis, because they come here to look for US dollars to carry it,” the LMA president asserts.  She wants the government to monitor the behavior of importers toward retailers to enable the local traders to profit from their businesses.  Madam Sloan said the National Legislature in collaboration with the relevant authorities should put in place policies to stabilize the Liberian dollar on the market, adding that it is losing its relevance.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more