Northrop reports 1Q profit of $174 million as sales rise

Lower pension expenses raise full-year forecasts

April 30, 2003|By BLOOMBERG NEWS

LOS ANGELES - Northrop Grumman Corp., the largest military shipbuilder, reported a first-quarter profit yesterday on sales of radar systems and spy planes, as well as the December purchase of satellite-sensor maker TRW Inc.

The company raised its full-year profit forecast because of lower pension expenses.

First-quarter profit from continuing operations was $174 million, or 91 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $283 million, or $2.56, a year ago, Northrop said.

Sales jumped 49 percent as Northrop sold more Global Hawk unmanned spy planes, as well as radar equipment for Apache helicopters.

Northrop, the third-largest U.S. defense contractor, now expects a profit of $3.80 to $4.20 a share this year. That's higher than the $3.65 to $4.15 range given last month, partly because the government will pay a bigger share of the company's pension costs than expected. Northrop lowered its forecast for pension expense this year to $560 million from $600 million.

Northrop's shares climbed $2.76, or almost 3.2 percent, yesterday to close at $89.29 on the New York Stock Exchange. They had fallen 26 percent in the past year.

Including an $80 million contribution from TRW's automotive unit, which was sold for $4.7 billion in March to New York-based buyout firm Blackstone Group LP, Northrop said it had net income in the quarter of $253 million, or $1.34 a share. Sales in the quarter rose to $5.9 billion from $3.9 billion, Northrop said.

Net income for the year-ago period was revised from $149 million to the loss of $283 million because of an accounting change made in October, which was retroactive to the first quarter under generally accepted accounting principles, the company said.

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