Boeing appealing latest Stealth contract ruling

Monday, September 10, 2001

CHICAGO (AP) -- Boeing Co. shares fell 4 percent to a 14-month low Monday after the company said it could take a $1.4 billion charge if it loses a legal appeal over the government's termination of a contract for the A-12 stealth fighter.

The company also said it decided to appeal the latest ruling in the decade-old legal battle, an Aug. 31 federal court decision that upheld the government's 1991 action.

Boeing said in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission that it sees about a $1.4 billion effect on earnings from its repayment obligations if it ultimately loses.

Its stock fell $1.72 to close at $43.46 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Boeing had previously said it would either appeal or ask for a reconsideration of the decision by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims. The court upheld the government's default termination on the grounds the contractor team of McDonnell Douglas, which Boeing has since purchased, and General Dynamics Corp. couldn't meet the revised schedule.

The two companies have been seeking reimbursement of $2.6 billion they spent developing the radar-evading A-12 for the Navy before it was canceled by then-Defense Secretary Dick Cheney.

But U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Robert H. Hodges concluded last month that the government acted reasonably when it set a date for the first A-12 to start flying and then decided the contractors could not meet the date.

"We believe that the rulings with respect to the enforceability of the unilateral schedule and the termination for default are contrary to law and fact," said Larry McCracken, spokesman for Chicago-based Boeing. "We believe the decision was in error, that it raises valid issues for appeal, and we intend to pursue that right."

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