Harris Reports Strong 2nd Quarter Results. To Acquire Exelis
There was a surprise fiscal second quarter growth spurt at Harris Corp. (NYSE: HRS – $74.80) as the international communications and information technology company saw a 5th-straight quarter of revenue growth from its Government Communications Systems (GCS) business. Helping in the latest period was higher revenue from the F-35 program, classified programs and wireless products. The segment’s earnings jumped 18%. Softness, though, remains in the RF-communications business, which saw revenue fall behind GCS amid a 14% drop from the public-safety space. RF earnings slid 12%. The company reported total revenue in the second quarter of fiscal 2015 of $1.21 billion and income from continuing operations of $140 million, or $1.32 per share vs. $1.27 a year ago and fourteen cents ahead of Street estimates. Revenue was slightly below analysts’ estimates. Harris also announced that it had agreed to buy Exelis Inc. in a cash-and-stock deal valued at about $4.754 billion, a little more than four months after Exelis, once a part of the giant ITT conglomerate, spun off its government-services business. Exelis had sales in 2013 of $4.8 billion. The combination of the two companies’ highly complementary core franchises creates a competitively stronger company with significantly greater scale. Harris increased its fiscal 2015 guidance for income from continuing operations from a range of $4.75 to $5.00 per share to a range of $4.95 to $5.05 per share. Fiscal 2015 revenue guidance is unchanged and expected to decline 1 to 3 percent compared with the prior year, excluding the effects of the Exelis transaction. The above-average dividend yield of 2.74%, should intrigue aggressive income-oriented investors and I believe the long-term outlook for Harris remains positive.