Orion Work Helps Boost Lockheed Space Numbers

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PARIS — Lockheed Martin Space Systems on April 26 reported modest increases in revenue and profit for the three months ending March 25, saying sales from work on NASA’s Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle more than overcame the drop in space shuttle revenue after the vehicle’s retirement.

Operating profit rose to 12 percent of revenue as the company successfully eliminated risks from unnamed government satellite programs despite slightly lower equity earnings from two 50 percent-owned affiliates, United Launch Alliance and United Space Alliance.

These joint ventures with Chicago-based Boeing are focused, respectively, on providing launch services to the U.S. government and providing ground operations that have been reduced with the shuttle’s retirement.

For the three months ending in March, Lockheed Martin Space Systems, whose major production facilities are in Sunnyvale, Calif., and Denver, reported revenue of $1.89 billion, up 2 percent from the same period a year earlier. Operating profit, at 12 percent of revenue, was up from 11.8 percent a year ago.

In an April 26 filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Lockheed Martin said the Space Systems division’s revenue increased by $60 million from work on Orion, which is scheduled to make its first test flight in 2014.

The Orion-related increase was partly offset by a $20 million reduction in revenue from work on the space shuttle’s external tank.

Space Systems division backlog, at $15.4 billion as of March 25, was down 3.8 percent from where it stood Dec. 31.

In an April 26 conference call with investors, Lockheed Martin said it was sticking with forecasts that its Space Systems division would report 2012 sales of between $7.5 billion and $7.8 billion, with an operating profit margin of 11.8 percent to 12 percent.