LOS ANGELES (AP) _ First-quarter earnings at Northrop Grumman Corp. rose 66 percent, easily beating expectations, due to pension income and improved results from its information technology and airplane parts businesses.
Northrop earned $173 million, or $2.47 per share, up from $104 million or $1.50 per share, during the first quarter of 1999. Sales were virtually unchanged from last year at $2.1 billion.
Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.80 per share.
Shares of Northrop rose $3.43 3/4, or 5 percent, to $70.43 3/4 in trading on the Nasdaq Stock Market.
Northrop benefitted from increased sales of Boeing’s F/A-18 fighter jets and C-17 military cargo planes, as well as higher margins from Joint STARS, an airborne battlefield command system.
Northrop is in talks to sell its commercial airplane parts business, but has said it will keep the military side of the business, which includes building portions of the F/A-18 and C-17. Commercial contracts include the construction of fuselages and other components used in Boeing’s 747 passenger jet.
Sales at Logicon, Northrop’s information technology business, increased 7 percent to $378 million, while operating margins rose 63 percent to $31 million.
The results also included a $67 million increase in pension income to $150 million for the quarter.
The improvements in those sectors helped offset a decline in revenues from B-2 bomber production, said Kent Kresa, Northrop Grumman’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.
``We are continuing to strategically redefine Northrop Grumman and are pursuing a plan that focuses on our high-growth business areas of defense electronics, systems integration and information technology,″ he said.
Northrop reported a business backlog of $9.9 billion, compared with $10.7 billion reported a year earlier. The decline was attributed primarily to the winding down of the B-2 stealth bomber program.