(Adds details about sector performance)
WASHINGTON, April 23 Northrop Grumman Corp
on Wednesday reported a higher-than-expected quarterly
profit despite a drop in sales, and the U.S. weapons maker
raised its earnings forecast.
Northrop, which makes unmanned planes, the B-2 bomber and a
host of electronic equipment, said net income rose to $579
million, or $2.63 per share, in the first quarter from $489
million, or $2.03 a share, a year earlier.
Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected a
net profit of $2.15 per share.
Chief Executive Officer Wes Bush said the rise in earnings
per share was due to the company's performance and stock
repurchases. Northrop had about 9 percent fewer shares
outstanding during the latest quarter.
Operating margins hit 14.4 percent, up two percentage points
from the year-earlier period.
Revenue dropped about 4 percent to $5.84 billion, in line
with Wall Street expectations, and reflected cuts in U.S.
military spending across the industry.
Revenue fell in all four of the company's divisions -
aerospace, electronic systems, information systems and technical
services. Operating income rose 20 percent in the aerospace
sector due to a $48 million increase in net favorable
adjustments, which more than offset lower sales.
The company raised its earnings-per-share outlook for the
full year to a range of $8.90 to $9.15. Its previous forecast
was $8.70 to $9.00.
Northrop said it expected a full-year operating margin of
about 13 percent, compared with an earlier forecast of 12
The company repurchased 4.8 million shares in the first
quarter and said it was more than a third of the way to its goal
of retiring 60 million shares by the end of 2015, market
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)