Orbital revenues down

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Orbital Sciences Corp. said its fourth-quarter revenues fell 8 percent because of a decrease in contracts on satellites and missile defense programs.

The Dulles-based company reported sales of $282.3 million during the quarter, compared with $305.2 million during the fourth quarter of 2008.

Profit increased to $9.3 million from $9 million the year before based on a reduction in investment impairment charges.

The company’s launch vehicles segment fell 23 percent to $93.9 million, mostly because of the reduction of activity on the Ground-based Midcourse Defense missle defense program and the elimination of the Kinetic Energy Interceptor (KEI) program.

The company’s satellite and space systems segment sales fell 33 percent to $72.3 million during the quarter, primarily because of the completion of many satellites.

The company’s drop in sales was offset by a 56 percent boost in revenues from its advance space systems business unit. The increase was due mostly to increased work on the International Space Station Commercial Resupply Services (CRS) contract and more work on national security satellites.

For the year, Orbital revenues fell 8.5 percent to $1.13 billion. The company expects to increase its revenues in 2010 to between $1.18 billion and $1.23 billion.

“Having built up strong business momentum in 2009, Orbital looks forward to a year of substantial revenue growth together with profit margin expansion and earnings improvement in 2010,” CEO David W. Thompson said in a statement. “We also expect the year ahead to present more than the usual number of opportunities and challenges as we pursue new growth avenues in several of our core markets and close in on the first launches of our new Taurus II rocket and Cygnus spacecraft planned for 2011.”

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