Lockheed Gets Sniper Contract - Analyst Blog


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Lockheed Martin Corporation ( LMT ) won a $152 million, five-year contract from the U.S. Air Force to help the force transition its legacy Sniper pod sustainment support from Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio to Warner Robins Air Force Base in Georgia.

Further, Lockheed added that it may also provide services like engineering support, initial line replaceable unit spares, support equipment and pod containers to the Air Force.

Lockheed Martin is the largest U.S. defense contractor with a platform-centric focus that guarantees a steady inflow of follow-on orders from a leveraged presence in the Army, Air Force, Navy and IT programs. We expect the company to benefit from a strong defense focus on a number of its platform programs.

The U.S. defense budget for 2012 was $645.7 billion, with the base budget at $530.6 billion and $115.1 billion approved for Overseas Contingency Operations ("OCO") as supplementary defense spending, mainly to fund ongoing wars. In February this year, the Department of Defense ("DoD") requested a Pentagon base budget of $525.4 billion for 2013, which is approximately $5.1 billion or 1% less than what is approved for fiscal 2012, with $88.5 billion earmarked for OCO spending.

In early August 2012, the subcommittee recommended $511 billion for DoD's base budget and $93 billion for OCO spending, for a total of $604.5 billion for fiscal 2013.

Going forward, we believe Lockheed Martin has significant upside potential based on the Obama administration's focus on Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR), unmanned systems, force protection, cybersecurity, and missile defense. It already sits on an order backlog of approximately $75.5 billion at the end of the first half of 2012.

Of this, $26.9 billion belonged to the Aeronautics segment and $24.6 billion to the Electronic Systems segment. The rest is made up of $15.7 billion for the Space Systems segment and $8.3 billion for Information Systems & Global Solutions.

We currently maintain our long-term Outperform recommendation on Lockheed Martin based on revenue growth, improved earnings guidance, incremental dividend payout and stable order backlog. The company's second quarter adjusted earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate and improved year over year, primarily on strong numbers from Aeronautics, Electronic Systems and Space Systems segments.

Going forward, we believe the current discounted valuation of the defense behemoth versus its peers like The Boeing Company ( BA ) and Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. ( HII ) is unwarranted given its leveraged presence in the Army, Air Force, Navy and IT programs.

Also, shareholder return will continue to be shored up by the company's focus on debt repayment, its ongoing share repurchase program and the incremental dividend. Thus, Lockheed Martin carries a Zacks #2 Rank implying a short-term Buy rating for the next 1-3 months.

BOEING CO (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report
HUNTINGTON INGL (HII): Free Stock Analysis Report
LOCKHEED MARTIN (LMT): Free Stock Analysis Report
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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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