Driven by strong operating results across most of its segments, Lockheed Martin [LMT] on Tuesday delivered higher sales and earnings in its third quarter and raised its top and bottom-line guidance for 2020.
The company also provided financial trend lines for 2021 with sales moderating to low single digit growth, operating cash expected to increase slightly and operating margins to remain strong.
Net income in the quarter rose 6 percent to $1.7 billion, $6.05 earnings per share (EPS), from $1.6 billion ($5.66 EPS) a year ago despite headwinds from higher taxes. Excluding a $55 million (20 cents EPS) non-cash charge related to the sale in 2016 of the company’s former Information Systems & Global Solutions segment, net earnings would have been $6.25 per share, 16 cents above consensus estimates.
Sales in the quarter increased 9 percent to a record $16.5 billion from $15.2 billion a year ago.
All four of Lockheed Martin’s operating segments contributed to the strong sales driven by increases in F-35 fighter development, sustainment and production, classified development contracts in the Aeronautics segment, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (GMLRS) and High-Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) programs, the Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense programs, the SH-60, VH-92A and Combat Rescue Helicopter programs, training and logistics programs, the Aegis Combat System, the Next Generation Overhead Persistent Infrared satellite program, and hypersonic development programs.
Rotary and Mission Systems, Missiles and Fire Control, and Aeronautics led the charge to higher operating earnings on the VH-92 and rescue helicopters, international military aircraft programs, radar surveillance systems and the Aegis program, PAC-3, GMLRS, HIMARS, Long Range Standoff Weapon, and the F-35.
Space was the only segment with lower operating income due to decline in equity earnings at the United Launch Alliance joint venture with Boeing [BA] and lower risk retirements on the Advanced Extremely High Frequency satellite program and fleet ballistic missiles.
For 2020, based on year-to-date results and a record backlog, Lockheed Martin now expects sales to near $65.3 billion, up from prior guidance of between $63.5 billion and $65 billion. Earnings from continuing operations are expected to be $24.45 EPS versus the previous outlook of between $23.75 and $24.05. Operating cash is expected to be at least $8 billion.
Lockheed Martin delivered 31 F-35s in the quarter, up from 28 a year ago, and expects to deliver between 120 and 125 this year, down from prior expectations of about 140 aircraft due to COVID-19 impacts, Ken Possenriede, the company’s chief financial officer, said on an analyst call.
In 2021, the company expects sales of at least $67 billion, segment operating margins between 10.9 and 11.1 percent, and operating cash of at least $8.1 billion.
James Taiclet, Lockheed Martin’s president and CEO, said the 2021 trend data could be negatively impacted if the continuing resolution that the government is currently operating under through Dec. 11 is extended.
Possenriede outlined the segment growth trends in 2021, with Space expected to be up in the mid-single digits and the remaining segments up in the low-single digits. The growth drivers next year will be F-16 production and sustainment, F-35 sustainment, classified works at the company’s Skunk Works unit, PAC-3, precision fires, the JASSM and LRASM missile programs, the CH-53 and rescue helicopter programs, international Aegis, training solutions, hypersonics and the award for the Next Generation Interceptor missile defense system, he said.
The company expects to deliver about 140 F-35s in 2021, ramping to 170 in 2022 and holding steady in 2023, Possenriede said. The delivery forecast is based on the current U.S. government program of record, he said.
Orders during the quarter totaled about $17 billion, driving backlog to a record $150.4 billion, up 4 percent from $144 billion at the end of 2019. Backlog in the fourth quarter is expected to grow further but this is dependent on closing the F-35 Lot 15 production contract by year-end, Possenriede said. Free cash flow in the quarter was $1.5 billion.