Linthicum unit's sales bolster Northrop earnings 23 percent rise in net income

THE BALTIMORE SUN

Strong sales of radar and marine systems at the Linthicum electronics unit helped Northrop Grumman Corp. post 23-percent increases in both net income and overall sales for the first quarter of this year, the company said yesterday.

Northrop Grumman reported net income of $75 million on sales of $1.96 billion, up from net income of $61 million on sales of $1.6 billion for the corresponding period in 1996.

Last year, the first quarter included just a month of results from the newly acquired former Westinghouse plant in Linthicum.

Earnings of $1.30 per share were up from the $1.23 a share recorded for the same period last year, even though the amount of outstanding stock jumped 17 percent after the sale of 8 million shares in July.

"It was a very good quarter," said analyst Peter Aseritis of CS First Boston. "It's a solid company, well-managed, and they're doing a great job."

Northrop Grumman shares rose $2.75 to $78 yesterday.

The Electronic Sensors and Systems Division in Linthicum has become a centerpiece of the California defense contractor's push into electronics. During the first quarter, electronics net sales increased 48 percent to $1.023 billion from $692 million during that period in 1996.

Electronics operating profit was up nearly 22 percent, to $90 million, from $74 million in the first quarter of 1996. That margin would have been even higher but for a $13 million charge from increased costs on the Directed Infrared Countermeasures program, the company said.

The absorption of the Linthicum division is "going real well," Aseritis said. "It's integrated quickly; it's an active part of the total company and more than contributing to the success of the business."

Northrop Grumman's other major field of business, aircraft, benefited during the quarter from a boost in contract work on Boeing jetliners and Gulfstream business jets. Aircraft sales rose 3.8 percent to $1.026 billion from $988 million during the first quarter of last year. Operating profit on the aircraft side rose 33.6 percent, to $135 million from $101 million in the 1996 period.

Pub Date: 4/17/97

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