(Reuters) - Motorola Solutions Inc, which makes walkie-talkies and rugged mobile computers, reported a slight rise in quarterly profit, helped by higher government sales, but forecast a steep drop in first-quarter sales.
The company's government business, which accounts for 70 percent of its revenue, fared well over the past year but its enterprise business has struggled as companies delay orders and cut down on spending.
Motorola Solutions forecast a 4-6 percent drop in current-quarter revenue. The forecast implies sales of $1.85 billion to $1.89 billion, well short of analysts' average estimate of $2.02 billion.
The company said it expects earnings from continuing operations of 46-52 cents per share. Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 77 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue in Motorola's government business rose 4 percent in the fourth quarter.
The business, which counts the U.S. government as its largest customer, provides land-mobile-radio systems, walkie-talkies and sells video surveillance systems.
Sales in Motorola's enterprise business rose to $736 million from $733 million, the second consecutive quarterly growth. Sales in the unit, which makes rugged mobile computers and tablets for businesses, jumped 2 percent in the third quarter, the first growth in seven quarters.
Net income rose to $343 million, or $1.31 per share, for the fourth-quarter ended December 31, from $336 million, or $1.18 per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, the company earned $1.67 per share from continuing operations.
Revenue rose to $2.50 billion from $2.44 billion.
Analysts on average had expected earnings of $1.62 per share on revenue of $2.49 billion, according to Thomson Reuters
Motorola's shares have gained 11 percent since the company reported its third-quarter results in October, hitting their highest in six years on Tuesday after Citi upgraded the stock to "buy" from "neutral".
(Reporting by Sruthi Ramakrishnan in Bangalore; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)