Lockheed profits rise despite sequester

Lockheed’s increased profits occurred despite a decrease in net sales in the third quarter by 4 percent to $11.3 billion.

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The company’s quarterly report shows how the biggest defense firms have been able to stave off the impacts of defense budget cuts and sequestration for their investors by cutting costs and laying off workers.

Last week, for instance, Lockheed announced it was laying off 600 workers, the latest in a series of downsizing moves for the defense firm over the past several years.

The company reported that it expects its 2014 sales to decline slightly from 2013 levels, but that its operating margin would remain above 11.5 percent.

Lockheed and other defense firms have warned that sequestration would be devastating for the industry, but thus far, most of the large defense firms are thriving despite the cuts.

Defense trade associations have said that smaller firms are feeling the brunt of the cuts, however. And the industry warns that the effects of the sequester will grow exponentially worse in 2014 and beyond for the all contractors because many defense firms are working on prior year contracts that have been unaffected by sequester.

Lockheed’s stock has increased 47 percent since March 1, the day the sequester took effect, when it was trading at $87.75.