(Reuters) - U.S. weapons maker Raytheon Co's (RTN.N) chief financial officer said he was "really excited" about the strength of international orders, after the maker of Tomahawk and Amraam missiles reported better-than-expected quarterly sales on Thursday.
Raytheon's bookings rose 4.1 percent in the first quarter, partly due to a $769 million order for its Patriot missiles from South Korea. Orders had fallen 5.4 percent in the fourth quarter.
"We're really excited about the orders and international strength that we're seeing in the first quarter and shortly after," Chief Financial Officer Toby O'Brien told Reuters.
Raytheon booked a $2 billion order for its Patriot missiles from Saudi Arabia in the current quarter. The company has also been selected to sell the missiles to Poland, with bookings expected toward the back half of 2016, according to O'Brien.
"We're pleased to see Raytheon making progress in closing on defense export opportunities, with the Saudi win being particularly significant," RBC Capital Markets analyst Robert Stallard said.
U.S. arms makers have increased sales to international markets and boosted their cybersecurity businesses to offset slowing sales to the military.
O'Brien said international bookings were expected to make up 30-35 percent of total orders in 2015 and that the company was "probably a little bit more biased to the high end at this point."
International bookings accounted for 34 percent of total first-quarter orders.
Raytheon said on Monday that it would buy network security company Websense Inc, adding more than 20,000 commercial customers to its government clients at a time when data breaches are surging.
Larger rival Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), which is also increasing focus on its commercial cybersecurity business, reported a 6 percent fall in quarterly profit on Tuesday.
Net income attributable to Raytheon fell to $551 million, or $1.79 per share, in the first quarter ended March 29, from $596 million, or $1.89 per share a year earlier.
On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.26 per share.
Revenue fell 4 percent to $5.29 billion from $5.51 billion a year earlier. Analysts on average expected revenue of $5.22 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Raytheon's shares were up 1.1 percent at $110.90 in premarket trading.
Up to Wednesday's close of $109.65, the stock had risen 9.4 percent in the past 12 months, slightly less than the 10.6 percent rise in the Dow Jones U.S. Aerospace and Defense index .DJUSAE.
Editing by Simon Jennings