MONTREAL -- Landing gear manufacturer Heroux-Devtek Inc. intends to focus on the defence side of its business to overcome a slow recovery expected in commercial aviation due to COVID-19.

Chief executive Martin Brassard said the Quebec-based company is "optimistic" about its growth prospects in this area, adding that it will take two to three years before commercial aviation returns to the level of activity that prevailed before the pandemic.

Heroux-Devtek lost $72 million or $1.98 per share in the fourth quarter following $85.8 million in non-cash impairment charges to reflect the forecast drop in commercial sector demand. That compared with a $12-million or 34 cents per share profit a year earlier.

Excluding non-recurring items, adjusted earnings rose seven per cent to $13.7 million, or 38 cents per share, eight cents above analyst forecasts.

Quarterly sales rose 5.6 per cent to $166.8 million with commercial revenues at $72 million, down 7.8 per cent, while defence revenues grew 19 per cent to $94.8 million

The company ended the year with a net loss of $50.7 million, or $1.38 per share, while revenues jumped 27 per cent to $613 million.

Heroux's shares gained 74 cents or 8.2 per cent at $9.71 in afternoon trading on the Toronto Stock Exchange.