Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

Wednesday reported a sharply higher third-quarter profit, led by its mission systems units, and issued in-line full-year guidance.

Net income increased to $278 million, or 76 cents a share, from $184 million, or 50 cents a share, for the same period of 2003.

Income from continuing operations rose 46% to $291 million, or 80 cents a share, vs. $200 million, or 54 cents a share, a year ago.

Revenue increased 11% to $7.4 billion.

Analysts expected the company to earn 77 cents a share, based on a Thomson First Call survey.

Operating margins for the third quarter increased 37% to $538 million. Contract acquisitions increased to $4.7 billion from $4.3 billion.

Sales at the company's mission systems unit led the way, increasing 21%, while ship unit sales rose 14%.

The company said it expects 2004 sales in excess of $29 billion vs. its previous guidance of about $29 billion. EPS from continuing operations is now seen at $2.95 to $3 vs. the previous forecast of $2.90 to $3. The consensus estimates are for revenue of $29.25 billion and EPS of $3.

For 2005, the company expects sales of approximately $31 billion. Analysts expect $31.35 billion.

Shares closed at $50.71 Tuesday.