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STRONG EARNINGS CONTINUE AT U.S. MAJORS

19 Apr 06. General Dynamics (NYSE: GD – News) today reported 2006 first-quarter revenues of $5.6bn, reflecting a 16 percent increase over 2005 first-quarter revenues of $4.8bn. Net earnings in the 2006 first quarter were $374m, or $0.92 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to first-quarter 2005 net earnings of $336m, or $0.83 per share fully diluted, a per-share increase of 10.8 percent. (All per-share data has been adjusted to reflect a two-for-one stock split that occurred March 24, 2006.)

Net cash provided by operating activities was $465 million for the quarter. Free cash flow from operations, defined as net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures, was $406 million.

“General Dynamics delivered another strong performance in the first quarter of 2006,” said Nicholas D. Chabraja, General Dynamics chairman and chief executive officer. “Revenues and operating earnings increased significantly over the first quarter of 2005, reflecting growth in each of the company’s four major business groups. Margins were strong in all segments, with three of the four groups exhibiting healthy increases.

“Net cash provided by operating activities and free cash flow from operations exceeded net earnings in the quarter,” Chabraja said.

“The company sustained its strong backlog of almost $42bn. In addition, nearly $2bn in combat-vehicle contract awards by European customers were announced during the quarter that are not yet reflected in the backlog, and subsequent to the quarter’s end, a $464m order was received for 306 Stryker wheeled combat vehicles for the U.S. Army’s brigade combat teams.

“Our focus on performance at all levels of the business continues to generate positive results,” Chabraja said.

13 Apr 06. General Electric underscored the robustness of the current earnings’ season with a 33 per cent rise in orders during the first quarter, well ahead of analysts’ forecasts after what was viewed as a disappointing performance in the last three months of 2005. The company reported a 9 per cent rise in net profits to $4.3bn in the quarter to March 31. Five of GE’s six business units delivered double-digit percentage gains in earnings during the quarter, with earnings at its NBC Universal media business slipping 8 per cent after suffering a $70m loss from its investment in TV rights for the Winter Olympics in Italy. The performance of the media unit was the only dark spot in the first-quarter report as the strong order flow cut across business and geographic lines and contributed to an 18 per cent rise in earnings per share. However, GE left its guidance for the rise in full-year EPS unchanged at 13-17 per cent. The company also reported organic sales growth of 9 per cent, the fifth consecutive quarter that it has exceeded the 8 per cent internal target set last year. Mr Immelt reorganised the company into six business lines last June in an effort to improve cross-selling and efficiency opportunities and boost organic growth. This followed an acquisition spree which had seen the company spend $50bn to expand all of its units, notably healthcare and financial services. GE accelerated its share buyback programme in the quarter to $3bn, with $25bn earmarked for repurchases from 2005-2008. (Source: WSJ)

13 Apr 06. Advanced Micro Devices Inc has announced net income of $184.5m or 38 cents per share for the first quarter, up from a loss of $17.4m in the previous year. The result exceeded market expectations and suggests that the chip maker has continued to trim the lead of rival and market leader Intel Corp. In addition, improvements in AMD indicate that Intel was the only one affected by the supposed slowdown in PC sales during the March quarter. Shares in AMD yesterday rose $1.07 to $35.42 in 4pm New York Stock Exchange composite trading. (Source: Abstracted from: The Wall St Journal/FT.com)

19 Apr 06. International Business Machines Corp. reported first-quarter profit

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