Huntington Ingalls shares up on profit report

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Huntington ingalls Industries Inc. reported a better-than-expected profit for its fourth quarter.

The Newport News shipbuilder said fourth-quarter net income was $59 million, or $1.19, compared with $63 million, or $1.29 per diluted share, during the prior year. Analysts had predicted an average of 94 cents per share.

Sales remained steady during the quarter. The company reported sales of $1.735 billion compared with $1.736 billion during the fourth quarter of 2010.

For the year, sales were down 2.2 percent to $6.6 billion, compared with $6.7 billion the year before. Because of a $290 million impairment charge, the company reported a loss of $94 million, or $1.93 per diluted share, for the year. Excluding the impairment charge, the company had a profit of $196 million for the year compared with $135 million last year.

In the third quarter, because of adverse equity market conditions and a lower stock price, the company had recorded a non-cash impairment charge of $300 million, which it adjusted in the fourth quarter to $290 million.

“We closed out 2011 with a strong fourth quarter and we are carrying that momentum into 2012,” CEO Mike Petters said during a conference call Wednesday. “ In the fourth quarter, we posted year-over-year improvement in operating earnings and operating margin, both at Ingalls and at the company level, reflecting our continued focus on improving productivity and profitability.”

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