Boeing's 787 production “major challenge“ for the company, says Bear Stearns

Joining a growing chorus of doubters, a Bear Stearns analyst has said that Boeing Co.''s aim of rolling out over 100 of its 787 Dreamliners over the next two years appears to be a "major challenge" for the company. In a note to investors, analyst Steve Binders, sounded a sceptical note about the ability of the company to meet its ambitious production schedule for this innovative, best selling aircraft.

"Reaching the planned monthly production rates to achieve 109 deliveries by the end of 2009 is still a near-Herculean task, in our view," said Binder, who also mentioned that he recently met with the management of Boeing''s commercial airplane group to get an update on the 787 programme.

However, he said that "shares still offer a relatively attractive risk-reward profile over the next six months," even while the risk of further 787 delays would prevent share increases beyond 10% to 15%, Binder said. He reiterated his peer perform rating.

Boeing shares lost 3 cents to $93.67 in recent trading and are down about 12% since the beginning of October.

The Chicago aerospace major has warned that it would delay the 787 Dreamliner''s first flight to the end of the first quarter from mid- December after running into problems assembling the first aircraft because of shortages and hold ups in the supply chain.

The company also delayed first deliveries of the Dreamliner by six months to late November or December 2008, and has replaced the executive in charge of the 787 programme.

Despite the delayed launch, Boeing has taken only three planes off its planned rate of 112 by the end of 2009, an assembly rate deemed risky by some analysts.