Lockheed Martin’s quarterly revenue and adjusted earnings beat analysts’ estimates, with the strong performance of its key aeronautics division being powered by the F-35 supersonic warplane program.
For the fourth quarter, the defense contractor reported a net loss from continuing operations of $715 million, or $2.50 per share, reflecting a $1.9 billion charge mainly due to the estimated impacts of new U.S. tax law.
But adjusted earnings from continuing operations came in at $4.30 on $15.14 billion in revenue, up from $13.75 billion a year earlier. Analysts had forecast adjusted earnings of $4.06 and revenue of $14.75 billion.
“We delivered outstanding performance as we completed 2017, which enabled us to end the year with strong sales growth, $6.5 billion of cash from operations and a backlog of nearly $100 billion, while also returning over $4.0 billion to our shareholders,” Lockheed CEO Marilyn Hewson said in a news release.
The results showed sales growth in three of Lockheed’s four businesses. Missiles and fire control led the way with a $30.5% gain to $2.29 billion, followed by rotary and mission systems (up 14.2% to $4.35 billion), and aeronautics, Lockheed’s largest division (up 11.8% to $6.04 billion). Space revenue declined 11.9% to $2.44 billion.
The growth in aeronautics reflected higher net sales of approximately $570 million for the F-35 program, primarily due to increased production volume, and about $150 million for the C-130 program due to increased aircraft deliveries.
“These increases were partially offset by a decrease of approximately $85 million for the C-5 program due to fewer aircraft deliveries,” Lockheed reported.
Adjusted for new accounting standards from Jan. 1, the company expects 2018 net sales in the range of $50.00 billion to $51.50 billion and earnings per share of $15.20 to $15.50. “Lockheed, like its peers in the United States, is expected to gain from an increase in defense spending under President Donald Trump’s administration,” Reuters said.
In a deal for the tenth lot of F-35s, the Defense Department announced a year ago it had agreed to purchase 90 planes for $8.5 billion.