Northrop Grumman Profits Decline

Sales fall short of estimates.
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Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

said its first-quarter continuing operations profit declined a bit because of a gain in the year-ago period, while revenue slipped as a result of lower sales in the company's ships business.

The defense contractor reported earnings from continuing operations of $357 million, or $1.02 a share, compared with $398 million, or $1.08 a share, in the same period of 2005. Last year's results included a gain of $45 million, or 12 cents a share, from the sale of TRW Automotive common stock.

Net income fell to $358 million, or $1.02 a share, from $409 million and $1.11 a share last year. The 2005 earnings include the stock-sale gain and an $11 million gain from the sale of Teldix GmbH.

First-quarter revenue totaled $7.2 billion, down from $7.5 billion a year ago, the Los Angeles-based company said Tuesday. Northrop's profit topped Wall Street's consensus estimate of 99 cents, but sales fell short of the $7.44 billion target.

"As expected, our first quarter includes strong operating performances from Information & Services, Aerospace and Electronics. At Ships, we continue to progress toward pre-Katrina production levels," said Ronald D. Sugar, Northrop Grumman's chairman, chief executive and president. "Contract bookings during the quarter were a record $12.3 billion. Based on this strong start, we continue to expect double-digit growth in earnings per share and substantial cash generation in 2006."

For this year, Northrop expects sales of roughly $31 billion and earnings from continuing operations of $4.25 to $4.40 a share. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are calling for earnings of $4.37 and revenue of $31.28 billion.

Shares of Northrop were losing $1.07, or 1.5%, to $70.16.