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L-3 Communications Q1 Results Beat Estimates; Lifts Full-year Guidance

Defense contractor L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL) reported Thursday a small drop in first-quarter profit as sales edged down. However, the results were better than analysts' estimates. The company also lifted its full-year guidance.

Net income attributable to L-3 dropped a percent to $201 million from $204 million last year, but earnings per share grew 9 percent to $2.01 from last year's $1.85 on lower shares outstanding.

Net sales edged down 0.4 percent to $3.59 billion from $3.60 billion last year.

On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $1.88 per share on revenues of $3.46 billion.

Michael Strianese, chairman, president and chief executive officer, said, "Orders grew 22% compared to last year, driven by several international new business wins and earlier than expected orders for several of our DoD and international contracts, resulting in a book-to-bill ratio of 1.14x. We ended the quarter with funded backlog of $11.4 billion."

Looking ahead, the company lifted its earnings guidance to a new range of $8.45 to $ 8.60 per share from the previous estimate of $8.35 to $ 8.55 per share. It anticipates net sales to be between $14.55 billion and $14.75 billion, up from the prior forecast of $14.40 billion to $14.60 billion.

Analysts expect earnings of $8.49 per share on revenues of $14.49 billion for the year.

The company cited the acquisition of the Kollmorgen Electro-Optical business and the re-alignment of the TRL business as reasons for the guidance update.

LLL also noted that the guidance continues to include the estimated results of the Engility businesses and excludes $15 million of estimated spin-off transaction expenses. L-3 expects to complete the spin-off around the middle of 2012.

"During the quarter, we repurchased $138 million of our common stock and paid dividends of $49 million, and our board of directors increased L-3's quarterly cash dividend by 11% to $0.50 per share. This dividend increase marks our eighth consecutive annual increase," Strianese added.

by RTTNews Staff Writer

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