Northrop Grumman Increases Guidance as Earnings Rise 18%

Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC  ) today reported earnings per share of $2.14 in the third quarter of this year, up 18% from the $1.82 it reported in the third quarter of 2012. Its net earnings increased by 8%, to $497 million, up from $459 million. The company also raised its full-year guidance from $7.60-$7.80 diluted earnings per share, to $8.00-$8.15.

Northrop Grumman also executed a significant amount of stock repurchases in the third quarter, as it bought back 8.1 million shares for approximately $750 million. Its total share count now stands at 232.6 million, down 8% from the 252.1 million it had in the third quarter of 2012. In total, the company has repurchased about 21 million shares this year for a total of $1.7 billion.

Revenue did fall at Northrop Grumman, from $6.3 billion, to $6.1 billion, thanks in large part to declines in its Information Systems (down 9%) and Aerospace Systems (down 5%) divisions, where sales fell by approximately $150 million and $100 million, respectively. However, as a result of lower product, service, and general expenses, the company saw its total operating income rise from $736 million to $790 million.

According to Wes Bush, Northrop Grumman CEO, "This quarter's results reflect our team's hard work and our focus on performance, affordability and innovation. During this difficult period for our government customers and our industry, our team has continued to demonstrate its commitment to the global security missions we support."

As of Sept. 30, total backlog was $37.5 billion, compared with $40.8 billion as of Dec. 31, 2012, a decline the company attributed partly to "reduced and delayed customer awards resulting from the current U.S. government budget environment."

Bush added in the press release, "We remain focused on superior program performance, effective cash deployment and portfolio alignment as we strive to continue creating value for our shareholders, customers and employees."

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