updated 2/2/2006 9:38:32 AM ET 2006-02-02T14:38:32

Raytheon Co. on Thursday said fourth quarter earnings rose 13 percent, beating Wall Street’s expectations, as the missile and defense systems maker enjoyed strong contract bookings.

The maker of the Patriot, Hawks and Tomahawk missiles said net income for the October-December period rose to $276 million, or 61 cents per share, compared with a profit of $245 million, or 54 cents per share, in the year-ago period. Net sales last quarter were $6.2 billion, up 9 percent from $5.7 billion in the same period a year earlier.

Waltham-based Raytheon reported several one-time items in the quarter, including a $30 million gain from the sale of a joint-venture stake, a $19 million charge from an investment and a $7 million charge from early redemption of debt.

Excluding those items, Raytheon’s profit came in at $282 million, or 63 cents per share. On that basis, Raytheon’s profit beat the consensus estimate of 60 cents a share of analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial.

Raytheon’s full-year profit was $871 million, or $1.92 cents per share, compared with a profit of $417 million, or 94 cents per share, in 2004. Net sales rose to $21.9 billion from $20.2 billion a year ago.

Raytheon, which also makes communications and information systems, said it added $5.2 billion in government and defense orders in the fourth quarter and full-year bookings of $20.5 billion. Its contract and order backlog totaled $34.4 billion at the end of 2005, compared with $32.5 billion at the close of 2004.

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