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Northrop Grumman's fourth quarter earnings beat expectations

Northrop expects a return to earnings growth in 2018

Sales were boosted by growth in the aerospace and mission systems businesses

US weapons maker Northrop Grumman Corp (NYSE:NOC) reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue in the fourth quarter, driven by an increase in sales in its aerospace and mission systems businesses.

Net income fell to US$178mln, or US$1.01 per share, in the three months to December 31 from US$525mln, or US$2.96 per share a year earlier due to a higher tax expense and US$500mln discretionary pre-tax pension contribution.

READ: Northrop Grumman tie-up with Marvel irks vengeful comic book fans

Adjusted for pre-tax expenses and non-recurring costs, earnings came to US$2.82 per share, beating analysts’ forecasts of US$2.75 per share.

The company, which makes military aircraft, said net sales rose to US$6.6bn from US$6.4bn the prior year, exceeding estimates of US$6.37bn.

"All three of our businesses generated excellent results that contributed to this year's strong sales, operating profit and cash flow," said chief executive Wes Bush.

"Looking ahead, we continue to invest in our businesses and our employees, as we strengthen the foundation for long-term profitable growth."

READ: Northrop Grumman agrees to buy Orbital ATK Inc for US$7.8mln cash

For fiscal year 2017, the company reported earnings per share of US$11.47 each, down from US$12.19 in 2016. Sales rose to US$25.8bn from US$24.5bn.

Northrop expects 2018 sales of US$27bn and earnings per share of US$15.0 to US$15.25.


Quick facts: Northrop Grumman

Price: 300.75 USD

Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $50.14 billion

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