Many companies in the space and missile businesses posted strong profits during April through June, a picture of glowing health that stands in stark contrast to the dismal losses in the civilian sector.
While airlines, car and truck manufacturers, banks, brokerages and others were reporting gigantic losses, the space and missile industry saw some handsome profit reports.
Even some companies with exposure to the civilian sector managed to stay in the pink as their bottom lines stayed in the black.
For example, The Boeing Co. [BA] saw total revenues slip only slightly to $16.962 billion in the second quarter this year from $17.028 billion in the same three months last year.
The company remained strongly profitable, even though net income slipped to $852 million in the quarter this year from $1.05 billion in April through June last year. Boeing customers such as commercial airlines have been slammed hard by soaring fuel costs.
Turning to Boeing network and space businesses, revenues were $2.8 billion in the second quarter this year, down just slightly from the $2.9 billion recorded in the period last year.
And network and space earnings from operations were healthy at $237 million in the second quarter this year, off less than 8 percent from the $257 million of profits in the quarter last year.
At another giant firm, Lockheed Martin Corp. [LMT], the results also reflected continued profits.
Company-wide, Lockheed saw net sales of $11.039 billion in the second quarter this year, up from $10.651 billion in the quarter last year, while net earnings rose to $882 million in the period this year from the corresponding $778 million last year.
In Lockheed Martin Space Systems, net sales advanced to $2.202 billion in April through June this year, against $2.068 billion in the three months last year. Total operating profit for the sector was $268 million this year, against $214 million in the second quarter of 2007. That upswing in the profit line for the sector was thanks in part to growth in space transportation systems, including the next-generation Orion spacecraft that Lockheed is developing for NASA. That gain eclipsed a decline in overall satellite business, a drop stemming from government business that was offset partly by gains in commercial satellite work.
Another firm with healthy finances was Raytheon Co. [RTN], which posted net sales of $5.870 billion in the second quarter this year, advancing from $5.278 billion in the period last year. That drove net income of $426 million in the second quarter this year, down from $1.335 billion in the second quarter last year because of the sale of Raytheon Aircraft Co.
In Raytheon Missile Systems, net sales totaled $1.355 billion in the second period this year, versus $1.244 billion in the three months last year. Profits for the Missile Systems unit also advanced smartly, with operating income reaching $156 million in the second quarter this year, against $134 million in the period last year, thanks to advances in the Phalanx, Paveway and Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile, or AMRAAM, programs.