(By Balachander) L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LLL) raised its 2013 earnings forecast by 20 cents after the provider of electronic systems for military and commercial platforms posted its quarterly results.
Earnings per share (EPS) from continuing operations increased 2 percent to $2.25 from $2.21, excluding items of 28 cents, in the prior year quarter.
Net income from continuing operations attributable to L-3 fell 16 percent to $212 million for the fourth quarter.
Net sales inched up 0.5 percent to $3.56 billion.
Wall Street analysts, on average, expected LLL to earn $2.12 per share on sales of $3.46 billion.
"Overall, we had a solid fourth quarter underscored by strong orders, sales and cash flows in spite of the challenges and uncertainty in the U.S. defense budget," commented CEO Michael Strianese. "Sales increased in our Electronic Systems and AM&M segments, which demonstrates that L-3 is well-positioned...to grow our international and commercial businesses and expand market share."
Operating margin improved 20 basis points to 10.2 percent, while segment operating margin shrank 100 basis points to 10.2 percent.
The company said it ended the quarter with funded backlog of $10.9 billion, up 10 percent compared with December 2011.
Looking ahead for the full year, the company now expects EPS from continuing operations in the range of $8.15 to $8.35 on sales between $12.55 billion and $12.75 billion. Analysts expect EPS of $7.97 on sales of $12.58 billion.
The stock, which has been trading in the 52-week range of $66.46 to $79.80, ended at $77.89 on Tuesday.