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Textron Confirms NetJets Order for Up To 150 Aircraft

By Tess Stynes Textron Inc. (TXT) signed an agreement with NetJets Inc. for delivery of as many as 150 of its Citation Latitude business jets, with initial deliveries beginning in 2016. The confirmation comes after The Wall Street Journal reported that NetJets said it plans to buy up to 425 aircraft from Textron's Cessna division and Bombardier Inc. (BDRBF) worth up to $9.6 billion, the largest-ever purchase of private planes and a boon for an industry that has struggled since the onset of the global recession more than four years ago. "This order from NetJets shows confidence in the growing strength and long-term outlook of the global economy and the aviation industry," said Cessna President and Chief Executive Scott Ernest on Tuesday. The NetJets order is a boost for the "super-midsize" segment -- generally, those that seat around nine passengers -- sales of which were hit especially hard. The Journal had reported that NetJets made firm orders for 25 Cessna Citation Latitudes -- one of several new aircraft being offered by the Wichita-based plane-maker -- plus options for 125 more, with deliveries beginning in 2016. The Citation Latitude has a current retail price of $14.9 million, however, such large orders generally include substantial discounts. NetJets' planned purchase includes firm orders for 75 of Bombardier's Challenger 300 Series, a nine-passenger jet popular for coast-to-coast flying, plus options to buy 125 more. It also includes 25 firm orders and 50 options for the Challenger 605 Series jets, which seat 12 passengers and are capable of intercontinental flights. Textron shares closed Monday at $23.58 and were inactive in recent premarket trading. The stock is up nearly 28% this year. Write to Tess Stynes at Tess.Stynes@dowjones.com

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