Northrop repurchased 4.9 million common shares during the second quarter for about $295 million, but said $1.1 billion in additional share repurchases were still authorized.
Bush said the company was increasing its earnings outlook to a range of $7.05 to $7.25 a share from its earlier forecast of $6.70 to $6.95, after what he called “an outstanding quarter in a challenging environment.”
He cited a “robust level of new business capture,” noting that new business orders of $8.8 billion increased the company’s total backlog to $41.5 billion.
The chief executive said all four business segments -- aerospace, electronic systems, information systems and technical services -- generated segment operating income roughly equal to last year’s second quarter despite lower sales.
Cash was also a highlight for the quarter, Bush said, noting that cash from operations totaled $876 million.
He said the company raised its quarterly dividend by 10 percent in the quarter, and viewed maintaining a competitive dividend payout ratio as a priority.
Chief Financial Officer Jim Palmer said the company would benefit from a federal pension relief measure included in recent highway legislation.
He said as a result, Northrop’s mandatory contributions would decrease by about $1.5 billion on a pre-tax basis from 2013 to 2016, with the deferred contributions to be paid back over the following five to six years.
He said the company could use some of the resulting additional cash flow to voluntarily fund its pension plans.
Bush also highlighted management changes announced earlier in the week, including the appointment of Linda Mills to a new position of corporate vice president, operations. Mills, currently president of the company’s information systems sector, will be replaced in that post by Kathy Warden, who heads the cyber intelligence division within that sector.