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Israel's Elbit Systems Q4 profit, revenue drop

TEL AVIV, March 19 (Reuters) - Israeli defence electronics firm Elbit Systems reported lower quarterly profit and sales that missed analysts' estimates, reflecting an especially strong year-ago quarter, the company said on Wednesday.

The company earned $1.26 per diluted share excluding one-time items in the fourth quarter, down from $1.62 a year earlier. Revenue slipped to $811.5 million from $843.9 million.

Elbit, Israel's largest publicly traded defence company, was forecast to earn $1.41 a share on revenue of $840 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

"Recently we implemented some organisational changes to enhance our market position in the areas of cyber and intelligence systems as well as commercial avionics systems," Bezhalel Machlis, who became chief executive in April, said.

"We consider both of these areas as growth engines for the company and complementary to our traditional defence-based business lines."

Its backlog of orders rose to $5.82 billion at the end of 2013 from $5.68 billion a year earlier.

It declared a dividend of 30 cents per share for the fourth quarter, the same as for the third quarter.

(Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)