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The Boeing Company (BA) is one of the world's largest aerospace and defense systems corporations. Headquartered in Chicago, Ill., since 2001, Boeing employs nearly 160,000 people in the United States and in 70 countries, including more than 70,000 at its facilities in Washington state. Boeing operates five autonomous divisions, the largest of which are Boeing Commercial Airplanes and Boeing Defense, Space & Security. These two divisions are responsible for more than 99 percent of Boeing's revenues, split almost evenly between the two entities. Boeing Commercial Airplanes has manufactured more than 12,000 commercial jetliners -- both passenger and freight -- representing 75 percent of the global fleet. The current production line includes the 737, 747, 767, 777 and 787 models. Boeing Defense, Space & Security is a primary defense contractor for the U.S. government, producing military aircraft and munitions as well as satellites and components for the International Space Station.

William E. Boeing founded the company in Seattle, Wash., in 1916, and many of Boeing's earliest aircraft designs were for seaplanes. After the war, Boeing's major designs were for mail planes and small passenger planes. World War II brought an expanded role for Boeing in the defense industry. Boeing's presence in this sector continued to grow after the war, with notable designs that have included the B-52 and the F-18. By the 1950s, the company had emerged as the world's leader in commercial jetliner manufacturing, while maintaining a strong presence in the defense and space industries. In 1997, Boeing merged with longtime rival McDonnell Douglas.

Boeing stock is today listed on the New York Stock Exchange and has been since Sept. 5, 1934, its symbol is BA. The corporation had revenues in 2009 of $68.3 billion and a net income of $1.31 billion. Legal and ethical revelations prompted a leadership shakeup in the middle part of the last decade, while production delays of the 787 Dreamliner have impacted current stock prices somewhat. The range of Boeing's stock price in 2010 was a low of $54.80 (Jan. 1) and a high of $76.00 (April 22). Boeing's closing stock quote on Dec. 31, 2010, was $65.26.

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