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22 Oct 02. Lockheed Martin Corp. Friday said its net income soared 36 percent in the third quarter, as a spending spree by the U.S. military boosted sales in the defense contractor’s aircraft division.

The Bethesda, Md.-based company also boosted its sales forecast for the year. Lockheed reported net income of $290m, or 64 cents a share, (2001: $213m, or 50 a share). The latest results include discontinued operations from the company’s telecommunications operations. Excluding those items, Lockheed said it earned 66 cents a share, topping average analyst expectations by a penny, according to Thomson First Call.

Sales rose 5.2 percent to $6.54bn, (2001: $6.22bn), driven by a 15 percent increase in sales at its aircraft division, a 6 percent rise in technology-services sales and a 3 percent increase in space-system sales. Lockheed said it expects 2002 earnings from continuing operations at the high end of its July forecast of $2.50 to $2.55 a share. The forecast excludes the effect of a one-time tax credit of 20 cents a share.

Lockheed boosted its 2002 sales forecast slightly to $26bn from an earlier estimate of $25.4 to $26bn. It reiterated that it expects 2003 sales of $27 to $28bn. The company is forecasting 2003 earnings $2.75 to $2.85 a share, subject to changes in its pension plan.

Lockheed increased its 2002 outlook for free cash flow to at least $1.5bn from at least $1.3bn. For this year and next combined, the company expects free cash flow of at least $2.2bn, compared with an earlier forecast of at least $2bn.

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