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16 Apr 03. Rockwell Collins Inc. (NYSE:COL – News) said on Wednesday that quarterly profits rose slightly because strong defense business gains more than offset weak commercial sales due to the historic air industry downturn.

Rockwell Collins also said defense sales are expected to offset anticipated revenue declines from the commercial business throughout fiscal 2003, reaffirming full-year earnings-per-share guidance of $1.33 to $1.38 and revenue of about $2.55bn.

Rockwell Collins reported a fiscal second-quarter profit of $59m, or 33 cents per share, (2002: $58m, or 31 cents per share). Analysts’ mean estimate was 31 cents per shaare for the quarter and $1.32 per share for fiscal 2003, according to Thomson First Call (News – Websites). Sales rose to $618m, (2002: $608m).

Defense sales rose 16 percent overall to $296m, with most of the increase related to work on refuelling and transport planes and several types of helicopters, the company said. Rockwell Collins also is contributing to the JSF F-35 development program.

However, sales fell 9 percent to $322m for commercial systems such as aviation electronics and in-flight entertainment equipment because of lower production rates for new planes, Rockwell Collins said. Rockwell Collins expects free cash flow from $225 to $275m for fiscal year 2003.

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