UPDATE 1-L-3 Communications Q1 profit up, raises 2008 forecast

jueves 24 de abril de 2008 14:50 CEST

(Recasts; adds 2008 outlook, details)

April 24 (Reuters) - L-3 Communications Holdings Inc (LLL.N: Cotización) posted an 18 percent jump in first-quarter profit, beating market estimates, as sales of its aerospace, defense and technology products grew, and raised its 2008 outlook.

The Pentagon's No. 7 supplier's full-year profit and sales forecast was given a boost by the extension of a contract with the U.S. Army, and the $175 million acquisition of Northrop Grumman Corp's (NOC.N: Cotización) electro-optical systems business.

L-3 reported a profit of $192.0 million, or $1.54 per share, for the first quarter, compared with $162.1 million, or $1.29 per share, a year earlier. Analysts on average forecast earnings of $1.51 per share, excluding special items, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales rose 6 percent to $3.51 billion, slightly behind analysts' average forecast of $3.52 billion.

The New York-based company raised its 2008 profit forecast to $6.56 to $6.70 per share from its previous expectation of $6.48 to $6.62 per share. Wall Street is expecting $6.64 per share.

The company also raised its 2008 net sales forecast to $14.5 billion to $14.7 billion, up from its prior expectation of $14.2 billion to $14.4 billion. Analysts were expecting $14.53 billion.

Shares of the company closed at $113.66 Wednesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Dinesh Nair and Esha Dey in Bangalore; Editing by Pratish Narayanan)