L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.'s (LLL) first-quarter profit climbed 11% as higher margins and strength in the company's C3ISR segment, although sales were down across the rest of the company's businesses.
The company, which has contracts for such services as training foreign militaries and upgrading government aircraft, boosted its 2010 earnings forecast by 13 cents to $8.13 to $8.33 a share, and now sees revenue of $16.2 billion to $16.3 billion, up from $15.8 billion to $16 billion.
L-3, which differs from larger rivals who rely on a few major contracts for a bulk of revenue, has said the diversity of its operations will see it through the changes in U.S. defense spending. In a sign of strength, the company in February boosted its quarterly dividend 14%.
Ahead of the results, Morgan Joseph expected the company's C3ISR segment, which provides signals and communications intelligence, would drive sales. That segment's revenue ended up 11% for the quarter. But the firm also expressed concern about weak sales for the company's flight simulators and propulsion systems.
L-3 posted a profit of $221 million, or $1.87 a share, up from $199 million, or $1.66 a share, a year earlier. Net sales slid 0.3% to $3.62 billion, as three of the company's four business segments reported declines.
In January, the company predicted earnings of about $1.75 and revenue to be close to $3.7 billion.
Operating margins widened to 11.3% from 10.3%.
Funded orders as of March 26 declined 3.4% to $3.64 billion, while funded backlog was down 0.3% to $10.83 billion.
Shares closed at $97.54 on Wednesday and were inactive premarket.
-By John Kell, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2480; firstname.lastname@example.org