By - Reuters
(Reuters) - Boeing Co's shares fell 4.5% in premarket trading on Friday after the U.S. planemaker halted deliveries of some 737 MAXs due to a new supplier quality problem by Spirit AeroSystems.
Spirit, which manufactures fuselage, thrust reversers, engine pylons and wing components for the 737 MAX airplanes, slumped more than 11.7%.
The latest quality issue pertains to aft fuselage fittings supplied by Spirit and is believed to date back to 2019, Boeing disclosed on Thursday.
"We see more negative financial exposure to this news at Spirit than at Boeing," said J.P. Morgan analyst Seth Seifman.
Boeing warned that the issue will likely affect a "significant" number of undelivered 737 MAX airplanes both in production and in storage, and could result in lowered 737 MAX deliveries in the near term.
The development comes as the industry grapples with a shortage of jets.
"Boeing's plans to boost production may need to wait, though we think management prioritizes supply chain momentum over inventory management," Seifman said.
Melius Research analyst Scott Mikus said it was not entirely clear if the pause in deliveries will have an impact on the aerospace giant's cash flow.
"It depends how many aircraft are impacted, how long it'll take to do any inspections and rework," Mikus added.
The problem, which affects a portion of the 737 MAX family of airplanes, including the MAX 7, MAX 8 and MAX 8200 airplanes as well as the P-8 Poseidon maritime surveillance aircraft based on the 737 NG, is not a safety of flight issue and in-service planes can continue to operate, Boeing said.
In February, the planemaker had to temporarily halt deliveries of its 787 Dreamliner jets to conduct additional analysis on a fuselage component.
(Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)