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Raytheon Co. boosted its 2015 sales forecast as the maker of Patriot missile-defense systems heads toward its first annual increase in five years amid a squeeze on U.S. military spending.
"We're looking forward to returning to growth," Chief Financial Officer Toby O'Brien said in a telephone interview. "We've had some strong international business. As those programs have ramped up, that's helped to fuel the growth."
Revenue will be $23 billion to $23.3 billion, up from a previous range of $22.7 billion to $23.2 billion, Raytheon said Thursday as it reported a third-quarter profit that beat analysts' estimates. Even at the low end, the projected sales would surpass last year's $22.8 billion.
Patriot interceptors and battlefield missiles such as the wireless-guided TOW were bright spots for the fourth-biggest U.S. contractor, which last posted a full-year sales gain in 2010. Waltham, Massachusetts-based Raytheon has sought to expand its international and commercial-market business because Pentagon budgets are under pressure.
Non-U.S. orders account for 44 percent of the backlog, he said. Raytheon also sees its domestic business growing in the second half of 2016, O'Brien said.
Third-quarter earnings from continuing operations fell 11 percent to $1.47 a share, including a 9-cent unfavorable impact from an earlier acquisition, Raytheon said in a statement. That exceeded the $1.43 average of 18 analysts' estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Raytheon reaffirmed its forecast for full-year profit of $6.47 to $6.62 a share.
Net sales rose 5.6 percent to $5.8 billion, matching analysts' average projection. The missile systems division boosted revenue 11 percent, and the integrated defense systems business had a 7 percent gain, "primarily driven by higher sales on international Patriot programs," Raytheon said.
Raytheon won a contract during the quarter valued at as much as $20.9 billion over 10 years to provide training systems to the U.S. Air Force. The company also secured a munitions order from the Netherlands and a $634 million deal for work on sensors and autonomous systems for the U.S. Army.
The company booked $158 million for work on an air defense center for Qatar, extending an overseas push that has helped counter the slowdown in U.S. defense spending. Domestic sales fell last year to 71 percent of Raytheon's total, the lowest share of revenue since at least 2000, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
Raytheon bolstered its growing cyber capabilities this month with the acquisition of Herndon, Virginia-based Foreground Security. Earlier in the year, it agreed to invest $1.57 billion in a new cybersecurity firm, combining a Raytheon unit with Vista Equity Partners's Websense Inc.
Raytheon will continue to pursue "targeted, smaller, niche- type of acquisitions" under $1 billion, O'Brien said.