Raytheon Co (NYSE:RTN) on Thursday beat analysts' forecasts for third-quarter earnings despite a bigger-than-expected drop in revenue, and the U.S. weapons maker said its bookings pointed to renewed sales growth in coming years.
"We still have confidence in how the year will play out," Chief Financial Officer Dave Wajsgras told Reuters. He said revenue should rise in the fourth quarter, buoyed in part by a large deal with Qatar for a Patriot missile defense system now being finalized.
Wajsgras said bookings were now exceeding sales on a quarter-to-quarter and year-to-date basis.
"If you look at any comparison ... our bookings have exceeded our sales, which implies a positive trajectory over the next three or four years from a sales perspective," he said.
Raytheon said income from continuing operations rose 5.7 percent to $515 million, or $1.65 per share, from $487 million, or $1.51 per share, a year earlier.
On that basis, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had forecast earnings per share of $1.60.
Adjusted for changes in pension accounting rules, earnings dropped to $1.57 a share from $1.60, the company said.
Revenue declined at each of the four divisions. It fell 6.3 percent to $5.47 billion from $5.84 billion companywide, missing analysts' forecasts of $5.61 billion.
Raytheon said bookings rose 3.4 percent to $5.88 billion, bringing the year-to-date total to $16.9 billion, up $2.3 billion from a year earlier.
The company said it expected earnings per share of $5.91 to $6.01, adjusted for pension accounting, up from earlier forecasts of $5.76 to $5.91. It raised the low end of its revenue outlook to $22.7 billion from $22.5 billion while keeping the high end at $23 billion.
Wajsgras said foreign sales remained strong and would account for 30 percent of 2014 revenue and more than 40 percent of the company's backlog.
Over time, international sales would comprise an even larger share of revenue without exceeding domestic sales, he said.
Wajsgras said the Qatar Patriot missile deal was the first of several multibillion-dollar sales, including of a large early-warning radar system, that Raytheon expected to conclude with the Gulf country in coming years.
"We continue to feel very good about how the company is positioned from a global perspective," he said.
Shares of Raytheon were unchanged at $96.45 in early trading.
(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Chizu Nomiyama)