Higher airborne systems sales lift Elbit Systems revenue

Full year revenue for the defense electronics firm rose 7.4% to $2.83 billion.

Defense electronics company Elbit Systems Ltd. (Nasdaq: ESLT; TASE: ESLT) today published its consolidated financial report for the fourth quarter and full year of 2009. Full year revenue rose 7.4% to $2.83 billion from $2.64 billion in 2008. The company attributed the revenue growth to higher sales of airborne systems, electro-optics and C4I (command, control, communications, computers, and intelligence) systems.

Net profit attributable to shareholders rose 5.3% to $214.9 million ($5.00 per share) from $204.2 million in 2008.

Orders backlog was little changed at $5.04 billion at the end of 2009, $14 million more than a year earlier. 65% of the current the current backlog is headed for export, and 72% is due for delivery during 2010 and 2011.

Elbit Systems increased its R&D spending to $216.8 million in 2009 from $185 million in 2008. R&D spending was also increased as a proportion of revenue. Most of the increase was in accelerated development programs for technology and products in all areas of operations.

Elbit Systems' revenue rose 2.4% to $714.7 million for the fourth quarter from $697.9 million for the corresponding quarter of 2008.

Net profit attributable to shareholders fell to $53.7 million ($1.24 per share) for the fourth quarter from $105.3 million for the corresponding quarter. The fourth quarter of 2008 included a $74.4 million capital gain from the sale of the company's 41% stake in Mediguide Inc. to St. Jude Medical Inc. (NYSE: STJ) and a $10.5 million write-off for Sandel Avionics Inc. Excluding these gains, the fourth quarter 2008 net profit was $41.4 million.

Elbit Systems will distribute a dividend of $0.36 per share on April 12 on the basis of the ex-date of March 31. Elbit Systems president and CEO Joseph Ackerman said, “Over the past few years, our R&D efforts and investments were based on our analysis of the direction of the global defense industry. Our read has so far proven us correct and we invested in areas which have become relevant in today’s market environment. In particular, we correctly foresaw the shift of defense budgets into unmanned vehicles and systems as well as the digitization of the battlefield, and have built up significant competitive assets in these areas. We continued to broaden our product range, our operations and customer base are becoming even more global, and we are continually enhancing our foundation as one of the leaders in the defense electronics industry. Looking ahead, we believe that Elbit Systems is well positioned strategically, operationally, and financially for the coming years.”

Elbit Systems' share rose 0.4% on Nasdaq yesterday to $59.50, giving a market cap of $2.53 billion. The share rose 1% in morning trading on the TASE today to NIS 224.20.

Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on March 10, 2010

© Copyright of Globes Publisher Itonut (1983) Ltd. 2010

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