Third quarter net profit at Elbit Systems Ltd. rose 9.4 percent and revenue hit record levels with the maker of defense systems saying it expects further growth in the fourth quarter. Completion of the second stage of the company's merger with Tadiran Communications had little effect on the company's numbers. For the three months ended September 30, net income grew to $14.6 million from $13.3m. in the parallel period last year, the company said Tuesday. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) were 35 cents compared to 32 cents for the third quarter of 2004, while revenues outpaced analyst estimates, jumping 22% to $273m. from $223.8m. last year. Analyst expectations for EPS had ranged from 33 cents to 41 cents and for revenue from $238.9m. to $258.30m., as compiled by Thomson Financial Network. "We grew in revenues in all aspects of our business," said Joseph Ackerman, CEO and President of Elbit. "Geographically, we saw high growth in the US, which continues to be a strategic market for us." Elbit's US sales totaled $114.5m. for the quarter, accounting for 41.8% of total revenues. Revenue for the first nine months of the year rose nearly 12% to $748.1m. from $669.2m. in the same period 2004. Net Income for the nine-month period dropped slightly to $38.2m. from $38.9m., while EPS decreased to 92 cents from 95 cents. Ackerman said the company expects to show further growth in the fourth quarter due to the high backlog of orders in the third quarter. The company had a backlog at of $2.4b. as of the end of September, a near 12% increase over the $2.15b. recorded at September 30, 2004. Approximately 50% of the 2005 backlog is scheduled to be carried out during the final quarter of the year and in 2006. During the third quarter, Elbit completed its purchase of an additional 5% of Tadiran, as part of the merger between the two companies and Elisra Electronic Systems. The company recorded a $1.2m. one time "in-process R&D write-off" related to the transaction. Once the merger is complete, he added, Elbit will focus its acquisition ambitions on the government's sale of Israel Military Industries. Nevertheless, shares in Elbit dropped 2.3% to NIS 107.20 in Tel Aviv and fell 1.3% to $22.74 in midday trade on the Nasdaq in New York.