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Northrop Grumman (NOC) Beats on Q1 Earnings, Ups '19 EPS View

Zacks Equity Research

Northrop Grumman Corporation NOC reported first-quarter 2019 earnings of $5.06 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.59 by 10.2%. The bottom line also increased 5.6% from $4.79 recorded in the year-ago quarter. The year-over-year improvement can be primarily attributed to the addition of Innovation Systems in 2018 and solid sales growth.

Total Sales

In first-quarter 2019, Northrop Grumman reported total sales of $8,189 million, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $8,316 million by 1.5%. Sales, however, increased 22% from the year-ago quarter’s $6,735 million. The upside was primarily driven by solid single-digit increase in the Aerospace systems’ sales.

Northrop Grumman Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Northrop Grumman Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Northrop Grumman Corporation Quote

Segmental Details

Aerospace Systems: Sales at this segment totaled $3,496 million, which increased 7% year over year. This improvement was backed by increased sales in all three business areas — manned aircraft, autonomous systems and space programs.

Operating income rose 12% to $382 million, whereas operating margin expanded 50 basis points (bps) to 10.9%.

Mission Systems: Segment sales remained almost flat at $2,886 million as higher Cyber and ISR volume was offset by lower Advanced Capabilities, and Sensors and Processing volume.

Operating income rose 3% to $383 million, with operating margin expansion of 40 bps to 13.3%.

Technology Services: Sales at this segment dropped 15% to $977 million primarily due to the completion of several programs, mainly JRDC and KC-10.

Operating income decreased 16% to $102 million, with operating margin contraction of 30 bps to 10.4%.

Innovation Systems: Its first-quarter 2019 sales increased 10% to $1,438 million compared with proforma sales in the first quarter of 2018. The sales increase was owing to higher volume for all business areas — Flight Systems, Space

Systems and Defense Systems. Meanwhile, the segment’s operating income totaled $167 million and operating margin rate was 11.6%.

Operational Update

Total operating costs and expenses at the end of the quarter were $7,253 million, up 23.2%.

Operating income during the quarter increased 10.4% to $936 million.

Financial Condition

Northrop Grumman’s cash and cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2019, were $755 million, down from $1,579 million as of Dec 31, 2018.

Long-term debt (net of current portion) as of Mar 31, 2019, was $13,863 million, down from $13,883 million as of 2018 end.

Net cash outflow from operating activities as of Mar 31, 2019, was $913 million compared with $237 million as of Mar 31, 2018.

2019 Guidance

Northrop Grumman consistently expects to generate revenues around $34 billion during 2019.  The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s full-year sales, pegged at $34.02 billion, lies almost in line with the company’s projected view.  

The company continues to project free cash flow of $2.6-$3 billion for 2019.

However, Northrop raised its full-year earnings expectations from the range of $18.5-$19 to $18.90-$19.30 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2019 earnings, pegged at $18.94, lies much below the mid-point of the company’s updated view.  

Zacks Rank

Northrop Grumman currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Recent Defense Releases

Textron Inc. TXT reported first-quarter 2019 earnings from continuing operations of 76 cents per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 70 cents by 8.6%.

Lockheed Martin Corp. LMT reported first-quarter 2019 earnings of $5.99 per share, which outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.29 by 39.6%.

Hexcel Corporation HXL reported first-quarter 2019 earnings of 84 cents per share, which exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 79 cents by 6.3%.

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