FALLS CHURCH, Va. (AP) -- General Dynamics Corp. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings edged up as strong demand for defense-related products outweighed weaker sales of business jets.
Quarterly results were bolstered by robust demand from the Pentagon for combat equipment such as light and heavy armored vehicles. The company also has big contracts to make submarines and warships for the Navy.
The recession hurt sales of business jets in the fourth-quarter and for the entire year, though orders for new-aircraft picked up in recent months, the company noted.
While the earnings for the most recent quarter matched Wall Street expectations, its earnings guidance for 2010 was slightly below analysts' current estimates.
The company, based in Falls Church, Va., said its profit rose to $614 million, or $1.57 per share, in the last three months of 2009, up from $612 million, or $1.57 per share, a year earlier.
Sales climbed across all three defense-related segments helping to offset weaker business jet sales in its Gulfstream Aerospace unit. Revenue edged up to $7.9 billion from $7.85 billion a year ago, led by the company's combat system division, which builds the Stryker armored wheeled vehicle. But analysts were looking for higher revenue of $8.4 billion.
General Dynamics expects 2010 earnings of between $6.40 per share and $6.50 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $6.53 a share.
Shares of the company closed at $68.72 on Tuesday.