Boeing's defense business reports lower sales, higher profit in 2017

By Marjorie Censer / January 31, 2018 at 12:15 PM

Boeing said today its defense, space and security business recorded $21.1 billion in sales in 2017, down 7 percent from 2016.

However, the unit's profit reached $2.2 billion, up 13 percent from the prior year.

The company said the defense business' backlog reached $50 billion. About 40 percent of it represents orders from international customers, according to Boeing.

The company announced late last year it plans to invest $300 million in corporate giving, workforce development and workplace facilities and infrastructure as a result of new tax legislation.

During today's call with analysts, Dennis Muilenburg, Boeing's chief executive, said the company will also use anticipated benefits from recent tax legislation to increase research and development spending.

"The tax reform benefits will allow us to accelerate some of that work," he said. "We will be ramping up our investment in innovation, as a result of tax reform, in a meaningful way."