Northrop Grumman 2Q profit meets forecast

Published 3:46 pm Friday, August 1, 2008

Northrop Grumman Corp., a maker of military aircraft, ships and electronics, said this week that its second-quarter profit rose 8 percent as sales jumped 10 percent on strong performance in its shipbuilding segment.

The Los Angeles-based company reported net income of $495 million, or $1.44 per share, in the quarter ending June 30. That compares to earnings of $460 million, or $1.31 per share, in the year-ago period.

Excluding discontinued operations, Northrop earned $1.40 per share in the latest quarter — meeting the average forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

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Revenue for the quarter rose nearly 10 percent to $8.63 billion from $7.88 billion, led by double-digit growth in its shipbuilding segment. The latest results beat Wall Street’s forecast of $8.28 billion.

Northrop received a total of $7.5 billion in new business orders in the quarter. As of June 30, the company’s total backlog reached $66.9 billion.

Sales across its four business segments improved during the quarter, with sales in Northrop’s shipbuilding division up 24 percent to $1.69 billion and up 6.5 percent to $3.18 billion in its information and services unit. Northrop’s shipyard in Pascagoula is the largest private employer in Mississippi.

Shipbuilding achieved double-digit growth due largely to higher volume for expeditionary warfare, aircraft carrier and fleet support programs, including its San Antonio class of amphibious transport dock ships and its USS Enterprise, a nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. The boost in fleet support reflects revenue from the July reorganization of its joint venture, AMSEC LLC, with Science Applications International Corp. and lower volume during the same quarter in 2007 due to a labor strike.

Electronic unit revenue rose 3 percent to $1.68 billion due to higher sales of combat avionics and airborne surveillance, which helped to partially offset lower volume of the Space-based Infrared System, a space-based missile warning system.

Sales in the company’s aerospace sector, which includes its integrated systems and space technology, rose 8 percent to $2.48 billion due to high demand for its Global Hawk, an unmanned aerial vehicle program and the EA-6B Prowler aircraft.

Northrop reiterated that it expects 2008 profit between $4.90 and $5.15 per share on $33 billion in sales. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial, on average, expect earnings of $5.11 per share on revenue of $33.27 billion.

Shares of Northrop fell 43 cents to $68.24 in morning trading. The company’s stock has traded between $64.10 and $85.21 over the last 52-week period.