) to buy from hold.
Analyst Pierre Chao says the company's purchase of United States Marine Repair should help United Defense offset the adverse impact of the U.S. government's possible cancellation of the Crusader program. Chao views United States Marine as a well-run company with a strong position in ship repair and the overhaul market.
He notes United Defense sees the deal as being immediately accretive to earnings in the second half of 2002 in the range of 5%-10% annually. He says United Defense hasn't adjusted its financial guidance for a Crusader cancellation. Chao raised his $1.72 2002 cash earnings per share estimate to $1.80, and adjusted the $1.84 2003 estimate to $1.89; he notes his 2003 estimate assumes no revenues or profits from Crusader. Chao has a $29 target.