Lockheed earns 49 cents a share, far cry from $1.74 loss in 2000

Md. firm expects '01 profit to rise 35%

October 27, 2001|By Robert Little | Robert Little,SUN STAFF

Lockheed Martin Corp. reported a $213 million third-quarter profit yesterday, continuing its trend of cutting expenses, reducing debt and earning more money than analysts expected.

Buoyed by an increase in rocket launches and aircraft deliveries, the Bethesda defense contractor also announced that it expects to earn more money for the full year than originally anticipated.

"This company looks good - a little better, even, than everyone thought," said Paul Nisbet, an analyst for JSA Research Inc.

Lockheed Martin earned 49 cents per share during the three months that ended Sept. 30, compared with a loss of $1.74 per share, which included a one-time charge of $2.02 a share, during the corresponding period last year.

Lockheed's net sales were $6.4 billion, a 7 percent increase from last year's third-quarter sales of $6 billion.

The company continued to shed "noncore" businesses during the quarter, selling a IMS Corp., a provider of computer services to state and local governments, for $825 million.

And it continued to pay off its debt - now down to $7.7 billion from nearly $12 billion at the beginning of last year.

Long recovered from its brush with operational glitches and earnings losses a year ago, Lockheed Martin expects earnings for 2001 to increase 35 percent from the year before, company officials said.

The company's outlook improved markedly yesterday with the announcement that Lockheed Martin will build the Pentagon's Joint Strike Fighter, a contract that could be worth more than $200 billion in sales.

Lockheed Martin recently received its first firm orders for F-22 fighter planes, and got a promise from Israel to buy 52 F-16s.

Shares of Lockheed Martin's stock rose $1.93 yesterday to close at $50.83 on the New York Stock Exchange.

The Pentagon's awarding of the contract for the Joint Strike Fighter was announced after the close. Shares rose to $53.25 in late trading.

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