General Dynamics profit beats on higher sales, raises guidance

July 28 (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp (GD.N) beat Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit on Wednesday as the defense contractor benefited from higher sales in its combat systems and technologies divisions.

Its shares rose 2.9% in early trading before settling back down.

The second-quarter earnings report comes a year after the global pandemic first hit the aerospace and defense industry supply chain, causing shutdowns, shortages and months of delays that continue to affect the unit that makes Gulfstream business jets.

Gulfstream delivered 21 jets versus 32 a year ago, but the company said it saw "very strong" customer demand as the pandemic continues and plans to deliver 71 more jets by year end. Company revenue fell marginally to $9.22 billion, below analyst estimates of $9.30 billion as revenue in the aerospace unit was down 17.8% from the same period a year ago.

The company raised its full-year earnings per share guidance by $0.45 to $0.50 cents to about $11.50.

Fresh support for the defense side of the business came last week when the U.S. Senate's Armed Services Committee rolled out a draft of its 2022 defense budget that boosted spending by $25 billion, potentially benefiting defense companies including General Dynamics, and signaling defense spending could rise under President Joe Biden.

The panel wanted more spending on ships that could add to General Dynamics' backlog - which at the end of the second quarter stood at $89.2 billion, the company said.

Sales in the company's combat systems unit, which makes battle tanks, rose 8.3% to $1.90 billion, while the technologies unit, which provides IT and mission-support services, saw an increase of 3.2% in sales to $3.16 billion.

Net earnings rose to $737 million, or $2.61 per share, in the quarter ended July 4, from $625 million, or $2.18 per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected the company to earn $2.55 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru Editing by Steve Orlofsky and Mark Potter

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