U.S. Markets closed

L-3 Communications 4Q net income falls 23 pct.

NEW YORK (AP) -- L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. said Thursday that fourth-quarter net income dropped by 23 percent, hurt by tough comparisons to a year-ago period boosted by a big one-time gain and flat sales.

Still, the results beat Wall Street predictions and the company boosted its full-year profit predictions.

The New York-based defense contractor, which makes secure communications systems, earned $212 million, or $2.25 per share, down from $274 million, or $2.72 per share, in the same quarter the year before.

The year-ago quarter included $23 million, or 23 cents per share, in earnings from discontinued operations, while the recent quarter included none. The 2011 quarter also included a tax benefit of $78 million that was partially offset by an impairment charge and increased the quarter's results by a net gain of 28 cents per share.

Revenue was relatively flat at $3.56 billion compared with $3.54 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of $2.12 per share on $3.46 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

L-3 said electronic systems sales rose 4 percent to $1.62 billion, while aircraft modernization and maintenance sales rose 2 percent to $628.8 million, as the company worked to expand its international and commercial businesses and boost its market share amid weaker defense spending.

For the full year, the company earned $810 million, or $8.41 per share, down from $954 million, or $9.14 per share, in 2011. Revenue fell to $13.15 billion from $13.16 billion.

L-3 boosted its 2013 profit outlook to a range of $8.15 to $8.35 per share from $7.95 to $8.15 per share, to reflect the reinstatement of certain tax credits.

The company also backed its previous revenue projection of $12.55 billion to $12.75 billion for the year.

Analysts expect 2013 earnings of $7.96 per share on $12.57 billion in revenue.