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16 Dec 02. Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE:LMT – News) said on Monday that it hoped BAE SYSTEMS would remain focused on fulfilling its contracts, despite an array of financial problems.

Lockheed President and Chief Operating Officer Robert Stevens said his company had a variety of business relations with BAE, including cooperative efforts to develop the Joint Strike Fighter, or F-35.

“I know they’re going through some difficult programmatic and financial times,” Stevens told Reuters in an interview. “We’d just like to see them continue to work effectively,” he said. “We really want them to … stay focused on delivvering in accordance with the expectations and reliance we have on their electronics systems and airframe components,” he said.

Asked if Lockheed would ever be interested in acquiring BAE, Stevens said, “That is not a subject we spend our time on.”

He said Lockheed recently improved its credit rating after a swath of acquisitions and arduous integration efforts in earlier years. Now the company was interested more in what he described as “modest” acquisitions to round out its product lines and services. Noting that any transatlantic merger could also likely raise antitrust concerns, Stevens said Lockheed’s “preferred course” had been to develop partnerships on specific areas with international companies.

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