Ceradyne, which manufactures body armor in Lexington, said Thursday its revenue picture is improving slightly as the company focuses on growing its solar-cell business to offset its slumping armor offerings.
Sales in the fourth quarter totaled $100.7 million, up from $97.6 million a year earlier. Profit in the quarter was $13.2 million, or 53 cents a share, down from $14.1 million, or 55 cents a share, a year earlier.
New orders in the quarter were $151.3 million, almost double the $76.7 million in the same period in 2009.
"The increase in new orders and ending backlog in the fourth quarter should give us a good start to 2011," chief executive Joel P. Moskowitz said in a statement.
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For the full year, sales were up slightly to $402.9 million from $400.6 million in 2009. Net income for the year was $29.3 million, or $1.15 a share, up from $8.5 million, or 33 cents a share in 2009.
Further illustrating its lower reliance on body armor, the company noted that it opened a 218,000-square-foot solar-related manufacturing facility in China in January. It also purchased a Seattle company in January that focuses on the solar-cell market.
Moskowitz said, though, that the company has seen "excellent testing results" on an enhanced combat helmet and more interest in body armor requirements.
"Although at a reduced level, our defense sales should grow modestly from 2010 levels," he said.
The company expects sales in 2011 of anywhere from $470 million to $540 million and earnings of $1.50 a share to $1.90 a share.