(Refiles to fix spelling of MDA in headline)
* EPS C$0.74 vs C$0.22
* Adjusted EPS C$0.66 vs C$0.69 forecast
* Revenue up 15 pct at C$252 million
OTTAWA, March 18 (Reuters) - MacDonald, Dettwiler & Associates Ltd MDA.TO, a Canadian satellite and data distribution company, said on Thursday its fourth-quarter profit more than tripled, aided by a big gain.
MDA said net earnings rose to C$30.2 million ($29.9 million), or 74 Canadian cents a share, from a profit of C$8.8 million, or 22 Canadian cents a share, in the fourth quarter of 2008.
The result included a gain of C$18.5 million on equity forward contracts, the company said.
Adjusted earnings per share rose 27 percent to C$27 million, or 66 Canadian cents a share, from C$21.2 million, or 53 Canadian cents, the Vancouver-based company said.
Revenue fell 15 percent to C$237.5 million.
The adjusted results fell shy of the average analyst estimate of 69 Canadian cents a share and the average revenue forecast of C$252 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
MDA has two main product groups. Its systems division makes advanced satellite, robotics, and defense technology, while its products group distributes legal, real estate, satellite, and aerial data.
In its 2010 budget, Canada set aside C$397 million for the development of next-generation Radarsat satellites using MDA technology that the company nearly sold off two years ago. The Canadian Space Agency will use a further C$100 million from its existing budget for the work.
The Canadian government blocked MDA’s planned $1.3 billion sale of its space robotics and satellite business to U.S. rocket-maker Alliant Techsystems Inc ATK.N in 2008.
Ottawa cited national security in quashing the deal.
Shares of MDA closed up 60 Canadian cents at C$41.44 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday. The company issued its results after the market close. ($1=$1.01 Canadian) (Reporting by Susan Taylor; additional reporting by Scott Haggett; editing by Peter Galloway)