October 24, 2012 / 11:57 AM / 5 years ago

General Dynamics posts lower earnings, misses forecasts

(Reuters) - Weapons and aircraft maker General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) said on Wednesday third-quarter earnings slid 8 percent as margins fell, missing analysts’ forecasts.

The company, which builds warships, ground combat vehicles and business jets, said net earnings fell to $600 million, or $1.70 per share, from $652 million, or $1.80 per share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 1 percent to $7.93 billion.

Operating margins fell to 11.4 percent from 12.7 percent, reflecting a $25 million charge in the company’s Information Systems and Technology group to revalue a portion of its ruggedized-computer inventory.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S expected earnings per share of $1.78 on revenue of $8.04 billion.

The company, based in Falls Church, Virginia, said its backlog at the end of the quarter was $51.5 billion, and the estimated potential contract value was an additional $26.1 billion.

    It said demand in the quarter was particularly strong for aerospace products, including orders for every type of Gulfstream aircraft.

    Chief Executive Jay Johnson, who plans to retire at the end of the year, said the company made “notable progress” on several core programs, including certification of the Gulfstream G650 and G280 aircraft and additional production awards of key military communications systems.

    Reporting By Andrea Shalal-Esa in Washington and A. Ananthalakshmi in Bangalore; editing by John Wallace

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