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Boeing Mulls Equity Sale, Plans New Cut to Dreamliner Output

Boeing reportedly has been studying an equity sale and other ways to ease its $61 billion debt burden amid the worst slump in aviation history.

Shares of the Chicago-based aerospace giant were down 1.22% to $234.31 in trading Friday.

In addition, Boeing will trim output of its 787 Dreamliner to five a month by mid-2021, one less than previously planned, Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith said, according to Bloomberg. Boeing didn’t ship any of the jets to customers last month, he said.

“When it comes to capital deployment, it will be all about paying down that debt,” Smith said at a Credit Suisse Group AG conference. “We’ll continue to invest in the business, but we’ve got to get this debt balance down. And we’ll look at every opportunity to do that in the most efficient way, including equity.”

Demand for the 787, the company’s marquee wide-body jet, has been particularly hard hit with international travel down 90% from a year ago due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Smith said that inspections and repairs of previously disclosed manufacturing flaws are slowing deliveries of newly built Dreamliners.

Undelivered aircraft are starting to stack up around Boeing’s factories and in a storage lot in the California desert.

Meanwhile, Wolfe Research analyst Hunter Keay downgraded Boeing, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines , all to underperform from peer perform, given his view that the stocks are pricing in a recovery scenario that appears to be too optimistic.

Boeing is contending these issues at a time when its 737 MAX is preparing to return after being grounded by regulators all over the world following two fatal crashes.

On Thursday, Boeing and Ryanair jointly announced that Europe’s largest airline had ordered 75 additional of the 737 MAX, the aircraft that was grounded last year following two fatal air crashes.