WASHINGTON — Less than a year after Finmeccanica ended efforts to sell its American subsidiary, DRS Technologies reported strong 2015 earnings, earning praise Wednesday from its Italian parent company for its turnaround.

Finmeccanica, which also announced plans to change its name to Leonardo, released its 2015 financials Wednesday, with DRS occupying a bright spot in the firm's ledger.

Overall, Finmeccanica reported revenues of $14.59 billion (€12.99 billion), a 1.8 percent increase from 2014. DRS, headquartered in Arlington, Va., saw its revenues grow by 15.1 percent, from $1.59 billion to $1.83 billion. New orders increased by 24.5 percent while the backlog grew by 21.1 percent, giving DRS a book-to-bill ratio of 1.00, up from 0.98 in 2014.

Highlights for the company in 2015 included sales for Canada's Light Armored Vehicle Reconnaissance Surveillance System, the propulsion drive on the US Navy's Ohio-class submarine, and enhanced night-vision goggles for the US Army, Finmeccanica noted in its release.

"Although some important challenges will have to be faced in relation to programs under development and growing competitive pressure in relevant markets, it is expected that the positive trend reported in 2015 will be confirmed in 2016, with a further increase in profitability," Finmeccanica's statement reads. "Adjusting for the disposals of non-core businesses that occurred at the end of 2015, the revenue volumes are expected to record a slight increase, thus confirming the turnaround with respect to the trend that affected DRS in the past financial years."

After a period of growth through acquisitions, DRS officials credited the increased revenues to organic growth, reflecting a shift in focus on several core markets, including electro-optical/infrared sensors (EO/IR), mobile computer networks, naval propulsion and electronics, and satellite communications.

Like its parent company, DRS has undergone significant cost-cutting, trimming its employee headcount from more than 10,000 to today's 5,500. Last summer, Finmeccanica officials confirmed that plans to divest DRS had been shelved, citing the American subsidiary's improved performance and outlook. Finmeccanica acquired DRS in 2008 for $5.2 billion.

Email: aclevenger@defensenews.com

Twitter: @AndClev

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