Textron's 4Q loss is less than expected

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Jan. 29--Textron, the parent company of Fort Worth-based Bell Helicopter, on Thursday reported a lower-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter, but its 2010 projections disappointed Wall Street.

Textron lost $63 million, or 23 cents a share, a significant improvement over the same period a year ago when it lost $289 million, or 86 cents a share. Revenue was $2.8 billion, down 21 percent from 2008. For the full year, revenue was $10.5 billion, down 25 percent. Bell's fourth-quarter revenue was $802 million, down 6 percent. Military aircraft revenue improved as Bell delivered more V-22 Ospreys and H-1 helicopters to the Marines. Bell's operating profit was $84 million, down from $94 million. Textron officials predicted rising sales in 2010 at Bell, which is expected to deliver 28 V-22s, up from 20 in 2009, along with 20 H-1 helicopters, up from nine.

"Bell, we believe, is in the first of several years of growth driven largely by military business," Textron CEO Scott Donnelly told analysts.

But Textron officials predicted that 2010 revenue would grow only slightly, as Cessna sales remain depressed.

BOB COX, 817-390-7723

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