Santa Rosa’s Keysight Technologies on Thursday reported a slight gain in orders last quarter despite a 20 percent drop in new business from aerospace and defense contractors.

The test measurement company, the largest business ever based in Sonoma County, reported revenue of $726 million for the quarter ending Jan. 31. That compared with $721 million a year earlier.

When one-time income and expenses were accounted for, the company earned 57 cents per share, above its previous guidance to investors, compared with 55 cents a year earlier.

“We delivered a strong first quarter,” Keysight President and CEO Ron Nersesian said Thursday afternoon in a conference call with investors.

Excluding aerospace and defense, orders grew 11 percent for the quarter. Such growth, said Nersesian, “gives us confidence that our strategy is working.”

Overall, orders grew 2 percent to $695 million.

The drop in aerospace and defense orders amounted to nearly $50 million. The slowdown resulted from the change of administrations in Washington, the effect of sanctions on Russia and the ebb and flow involved in a new five-year economic plan in China. Keysight officials cautioned that such spending may remained subdued for the next few quarters.

Nonetheless, Mike Gasparian, a senior vice president with Keysight, said he believes eventually defense spending under the Trump administration “is going to be stronger” than under the Obama administration.

Keysight employs 10,500 workers worldwide, including about 1,300 in Sonoma County. Its products are used for testing in computers, wireless communications, aerospace and defense.

Nersesian said growth opportunities include serving the makers of electric cars and those building technology to connect a range of home and business devices, often called the “Internet of Things.”

He noted that when 4G wireless technology was being developed, “we were behind the competition.” Now the next iteration, 5G, is in design stages and Keysight has done considerable work aimed at “making sure that we win in these spaces.”

You can reach Staff Writer Robert Digitale at 707-521-5285 or On Twitter @rdigit.