Northrop Grumman Corporation reported fourth quarter 2012 earnings from continuing operations of $533 million, or $2.14 per diluted share, compared with $550 million, or $2.09 per diluted share, in the fourth quarter of 2011. The increase in earnings per share was principally due to a $102 million increase in segment operating income and a lower share count, partially offset by a $67 million decrease in net FAS/CAS pension adjustment and a higher effective tax rate. On a pension-adjusted basis, earnings per diluted share from continuing operations increased 11 percent to $2.06 from $1.85. Diluted earnings per share for the fourth quarter of 2012 are based on weighted average diluted shares outstanding of 248.9 million compared with 262.7 million in the prior year period, a 5 percent decrease. During the fourth quarter the company repurchased 7.3 million shares of its common stock for approximately $487 million.
For 2012, earnings from continuing operations totaled $2.0 billion, or $7.81 per diluted share, compared with $2.1 billion, or $7.41 per diluted share in 2011. The change in earnings was principally due to a $268 million decrease in 2012 net FAS/CAS pension adjustment and a higher effective tax rate, which more than offset a $121 million increase in segment operating income. The increase in diluted earnings per share reflects higher segment operating income and a lower share count in 2012. Diluted earnings per share for 2012 are based on 253.4 million weighted average shares outstanding compared with 281.6 million weighted average shares outstanding in 2011, a 10 percent decrease. In 2012, the company repurchased 20.9 million shares of its common stock for $1.3 billion, and $1.5 billion remained on its current share repurchase authorization as of Dec. 31, 2012.
"Our team delivered outstanding results for the quarter and the year. Our focus on performance, effective cash deployment, and portfolio alignment continues to create value for our shareholders, customers and employees. As we look ahead, we expect challenges, but we are confident in our team's ability to address those challenges and continue to create value for all our stakeholders," said Wes Bush, chairman, chief executive officer and president.
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