Lockheed Martin Corp. reported a 13 percent jump in third-quarter earnings despite a small decline in sales, thanks primarily to cost-reduction efforts.
The company said it earned $287.4 million, or $1.29 a share, from sales of $5.6 billion. That compares with earnings of $254 million, or $1.16 a share, on sales of $5.7 billion in the same period last year.
This was slightly better than analysts had expected. Based on the estimates of 13 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research, earnings were expected to be $1.26 per share. Estimates ranged from a low of $1.20 to a high of $1.30.
Charles P. Manor, a vice president of the Bethesda-based company, said the improvement was attributable to cost reductions in place prior to the merger of Lockheed and Martin Marietta as well as to cuts initiated after the merger.
Mr. Manor said investors are seeing the benefits of the company's cost-reduction plans in the form of increased efficiency and better margins.
"We are doing what we said we were going to do as a result of the merger," he said. "The company is becoming more profitable and more competitive."
"There were no surprises in the numbers," said Paul H. Nisbit, president of JSA Research in Newport, R.I. "Earnings were just slightly higher than what analysts expected." He added: "Everything seems to be going as anticipated. Everything seems to be going very well."
Daniel M. Tellep, Lockheed Martin's chairman and chief executive, said the "results are on track with our plan to achieve solid earnings growth in 1995." He said the company also is meeting -- and in some cases exceeding -- the schedule for the consolidation plan announced in June.
The company said yesterday that its 245-worker research laboratory in Catonsville will be closed by the end of the year. The facility has been in the Baltimore area for more than 40 years.
For the first nine months of the year, net income was off sharply, due primarily to a $690 million write-off related to the consolidation.
Net income was $371.1 million, compared to $747.8 million in the corresponding period last year. On a per-share basis, that was equal to $1.67, down from $3.43 last year. Sales totaled $16.8 billion, up from $16.3 billion at the end of the third quarter last year.
Without the merger and consolidation expenses, the company would have a posted a nine-month profit of $807 million, up 16 percent from its $685 million operating results last year.
The Aeronautics division, which includes the company's Middle River plant, posted a 5 percent decline in sales and a 17 percent drop in pre-tax earnings for the quarter.