Raytheon’s sales fall 6.3 percent

WASHINGTON — Raytheon, the world’s largest missile maker, reported a 6.3 percent decline in first-quarter sales, reflecting a slowdown in the federal marketplace.

Raytheon was the last of the top five U.S. government contractors to release quarterly earnings this week, and it had the biggest drop in revenue. Sales fell to $5.51 billion, with decreases in all four of the company’s divisions, the contractor said in a statement Thursday.

Raytheon’s net income from continuing operations rose 20 percent to $589 million, or $1.87 a share, in the quarter, which included $80 million in one-time tax benefits. That compared with $490 million, or $1.49 a share, a year earlier. The average estimate of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was $1.77 a share.

The government’s fourth-biggest contractor also spent $200 million to repurchase 2.1 million shares and boosted its dividend 10 percent to $2.42 a share.

Raytheon, based in Waltham, Mass., reaffirmed its profit forecast in January of $6.74 to $6.89 a share on sales of $22.5 billion to $23 billion.

Earlier this week, Lockheed Martin, the largest federal contractor, No. 3 General Dynamics and No. 5 Northrop Grumman reported higher profits even as sales declined due to U.S. budget cuts and a slowdown in war spending.

Diverse portfolios helped both General Dynamics and Boeing, the second-largest U.S. vendor. Boeing’s profit in the quarter topped analysts’ estimates – and the strength of its civilian airline business made it the only company among the top five to report an increase in sales.

General Dynamics’s sales dipped 1.1 percent in the quarter, less than the others that reported drops, as a sharper decline was averted due to a 20 percent gain in aerospace revenue driven by Gulfstream business jet deliveries.

Pentagon spending is slowing as the U.S. withdraws combat troops from Afghanistan and the military absorbs across-the- board budget cuts under a process known as sequestration. Some of the federal cuts were reduced when President Obama in January signed a $1.1 trillion spending bill to fund the government through Sept. 30.

Raytheon has risen 75 percent in trading in the past 12 months, compared with a 19 percent gain in the Standard &Poor’s 500 Index during that time.

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