General Dynamics Q3 earnings rise as sales dip


* Q3 EPS up 8.2 percent, tops estimates

* Operating margins rise 90 basis points to 12.3 percent

* Funded backlog down to $40 bln from $43.2 bln

WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) - General Dynamics Corp,maker of Gulfstream business jets and U.S. Navy warships, onWednesday reported higher earnings and operating margins in thethird quarter despite a dip in revenue.

The company said net earnings rose 8.5 percent to $651million from $600 million in the year earlier period, whilerevenues fell 1.7 percent to $7.93 billion. Earnings per shareincreased 8.2 percent to $1.84 from $1.70.

Revenues were largely in line with Wall Street estimates,but earnings beat expectations from analysts polled by ThomsonReuters I/B/E/S, who had forecast EPS of $1.68.

Companywide operating margins also rose 90 basis points to12.3 percent on improved performances in the aerospace, combatsystems and information systems divisions, the company said.

Margins in the marine systems division remained steady as itcompleted the T-AKE line of dry cargo and ammunitions ships thatit built for the U.S. Navy.

General Dynamics said its funded backlog fell to $40 billionat the end of the third quarter from $43.2 billion in the year-earlier period. The total backlog was $47.9 billion, down from$51.5 billion a year earlier.

The company did not provide an outlook for full-yearresults.

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