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FIGHTER SALES BOOST LOCKHEED

22 Apr. 03. Lockheed Martin Corp.’s first-quarter profit jumped 15% as strong demand for its fighter jets boosted sales. The company also raised its profit outlook for the year. The company reported net income of $250m, or 55 cents a share, (2002: $218m, or 49 cents).

Sales climbed 18% to $7.06bn from $5.97bn, with Lockheed’s aeronautics business reporting a 57% jump in sales to $2.09bn. Greater volume on the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and F/A-22 programs, as well as increased development on international F-16 programs led to growth in Lockheed’s aeronautics segment.

The company’s systems-integration business posted sales of $2.2bn, up 5.5% on strength in all its operations, including command, control, communication, computers and intelligence, naval electronics and surveillance systems, and missiles and fire control.

Sales at Lockheed’s space-systems business rose 11% to $2.08bn amid strength in government work, which more than offset a decline in commercial business. The company said the government business was driven by higher volume on ground-systems activities, government-satellite
programs and strategic- missile programs.

Technology services saw sales grow 2.5% to $687m on higher volume in the military aircraft and defense lines of business, which partially offset weaker sales from its NASA (News – Websites)business. Looking ahead, Lockheed said it now expects to earn $2.20 to $2.30 a share from continuing operations, up from an earlier forecast of $2.15 to $2.20 a share. The company reaffirmed 2003 sales growth of 8% to 12%.

Lockheed ended the first quarter with $2.1bn in cash and a backlog of $74.6bn.

The company said its 2004 pension expense will largely depend on investment results and interest rates for 2003, but it is currently planning on pension adjustments of $400m to $550m for 2004.

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