May 16, 2017 / 6:24 AM / 3 months ago

Israeli defence firm Elbit Systems Q1 profit edges up

TEL AVIV, May 16 (Reuters) - Israeli defence electronics firm Elbit Systems reported slightly higher quarterly net profit, boosted by a rise in revenue that was partly offset by increased research, financial and marketing expenses.

Elbit, Israel's largest publicly traded defence firm, said on Tuesday it earned $1.21 per diluted share excluding one-time items in the first quarter, up from $1.20 a year earlier.

The maker of drones, pilot helmet displays and cyber security systems said revenue grew to $749.2 million from $721.2 million.

"In today’s geopolitical environment, we are seeing a trend of larger defence spending in many of our target markets, especially in the electronic defence sphere," said Chief Executive Bezhalel Machlis.

Research and development spending rose to $58.4 million from $56 million. Marketing and financial expenses also rose.

Elbit's order backlog rose to $7.07 billion at the end of March from $6.78 billion a year earlier.

Elbit declared a dividend of 44 cents per share, unchanged from the fourth quarter. (Reporting by Tova Cohen; Editing by Steven Scheer)

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