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Motorola Solutions revenue, forecast beat on strong N. America sales

Feb 4 (Reuters) - Motorola Solutions Inc, a maker of walkie-talkies and radio systems, reported better-than-expected quarterly revenue and forecast a smaller-than-expected fall in sales in the current quarter, helped by increasing demand in North America.

Revenue was little changed at $1.82 billion, but beat analysts' average estimate of $1.78 billion, driven mainly by a 4 percent year-on-year increase in North American sales.

"The business continues to show signs of improvement, driven by growth in North America and significantly higher backlog," Chief Executive Greg Brown said in a statement.

The company said it expected sales in North America to continue to grow in the first quarter, but warned of a slowdown in Europe.

Motorola Solutions forecast a 2-4 percent fall in sales for the first quarter of 2015 compared with a year earlier, which translates to sales of about $1.73 billion-$1.76 billion.

Analysts on average were expecting first-quarter sales of $1.27 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

However, the company forecast an adjusted profit from continuing operations of 22-27 cents per share, well below the average analyst estimate of 46 cents.

Motorola Solutions has grown more dependant on government spending after selling its enterprise business to Zebra Technologies Corp last year. The enterprise business makes rugged mobile computers, tablets and barcode scanners.

The company said it managed to cut its operating expenses by more than $200 million by the end of 2014 and expected further cost saving of about $150 million this year.

Motorola Solutions said operating expenses fell 17 percent to $431 million in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, mainly due to staff reductions.

Net income attributable to the company fell to $201 million, or 87 cents per share, in the quarter, from $343 million, or $1.31 per share, a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company earned $1.25 per share, above the average analyst estimate of $1.12 per share.

Motorola Solutions is not related to smartphone maker Motorola Mobility, which is now owned by China's Lenovo Group Ltd.

(Reporting By Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Simon Jennings)