Oct. 26 (Bloomberg) -- Lockheed Martin Corp., the world’s largest defense company, forecast higher profit for the year and said 2012 sales may remain the same as this year after announcing a 19 percent increase in third-quarter earnings.
Lockheed said 2011 profit would be between $7.40 and $7.60 a share, an increase of 5 cents in both ends of the range from the forecast made in July. The outlook for sales remained unchanged at $46 billion to $47 billion. Revenue in 2012 will be “flattish as compared to 2011,” the Bethesda, Maryland-based company said today in a statement.
Profit from continuing operations increased to $665 million, or $1.99 a share, from $557 million, or $1.53, a year earlier, Lockheed said. That beat the $1.81 average estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Sales increased 6.8 percent to $12.1 billion.
Chief Executive Officer Robert Stevens faces the task of containing cost growth and delays in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program, the company’s single largest program and the Pentagon’s costliest weapon in history. The $382 billion program is facing additional scrutiny as the Defense Department prepares to cut $450 billion from planned defense spending in the next decade.
Stevens has eliminated 3,850 jobs since last year to match the projected decline in defense spending. In July, Lockheed offered voluntary retirement plans to an additional 6,500 employees.
--Editors: Steven Komarow, Leslie Hoffecker
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