10. L-3 Communications
> Arm sales 2012: $10.8 billion
> Total sales 2012: $13.1 billion
> 2012 profit: $782 million
> 2012 employment: 51,000
L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (NYSE: LLL) moved down a notch in the rankings from the previous year. The company’s 2012 arms sales totaled $10.8 billion, down from $12.5 billion the year before. Still, arms sales accounted for 82% of L-3′s total 2012 sales. The company has four main business units: secure communications, electronics systems, platform and logistical solutions, and national security solutions. In July 2012, L-3 spun off its government services business into a standalone company, called Engility. With the spinoff, L-3 aimed to limit its exposure to cuts in government spending on defense contractors.
> Arm sales 2012: $12.5 billion
> Total sales 2012: $22.1 billion
> 2012 profit: -$1.0 billion
> 2012 employment: 67,408
Ongoing corruption probes may have hurt Italian aerospace and defense giant Finmeccanica, which posted $12.5 billion in arms sales in 2012, roughly $2 billion less than in 2011. Finmeccanica posted a net loss of $1 billion in 2012, mostly due to a write-down of the value of its U.S. defense electronics unit, DRS Technologies. Following his February 2013 arrest in connection with charges of bribery of Indian government officials regarding a contract for 12 military helicopters, Finmeccanica’s CEO, Giuseppe Orsi, resigned from the company. The bribery charges have also held up payment from India for the helicopters, causing the highly indebted company to lose an important source of cash.
8. United Technologies
> Arm sales 2012: $13.5 billion
> Total sales 2012: $62.2 billion
> 2012 profit: $5.2 billion
> 2012 employment: 218,300
United Technologies Corp.’s (NYSE: UTX) 2012 arms sales increased from the year before, the only company in the top 10 ranking with a year-over-year increase in its arms sales. The company recorded $13.5 billion in arms sales in 2012, up from $11.6 billion in 2011. The company’s total profit that year was $5.2 billion, third among all arms companies. Its Sikorsky division, known for the Black Hawk and Seahawk military helicopters, accounted for $4.5 billion in arms sales that year. Its Pratt & Whitney division, which produces aircraft engines, accounted for $3.7 billion in 2012 arms sales. The company also sold parts of its Hamilton Sundstrand subsidiary in July 2012 for $3.5 billion to a venture led by private equity managers, The Carlyle Group and BC Partners. The sale helped United Technologies fund its more-than $16 billion purchase of aircraft parts maker Goodrich to expand further into the commercial aerospace sector.
> Arm sales 2012: $15.4 billion
> Total sales 2012: $72.6 billion
> 2012 profit: $1.6 billion
> 2012 employment: 140,000
The European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company tried to complete a $45 billion mega-merger with fellow arms company BAE in 2012. While European leaders nixed the merger because of antitrust laws, the European Union Institute for Security Studies noted in late 2012 that European austerity may eventually prompt further industry consolidation in the future. EADS’ total arm sales were $15.4 billion in 2012, down by $1 billion versus the prior year. Still, it was able to hold onto its seventh-place ranking among arms dealers. Arms sales accounted for just 21% of its $72.6 billion in total sales during 2012. To reflect the massive contribution of its Airbus commercial aircraft business to company revenue, EADS changed its name to Airbus Group in 2014.
6. Northrop Grumman
> Arm sales 2012: $19.4 billion
> Total sales 2012: $25.2 billion
> 2012 profit: $2.0 billion
> 2012 employment: 68,100
Virginia-based Northrop Grumman Corp. (NYSE: NOC) specializes in producing unmanned systems, missile defense radars and critical incident response systems. In February 2012, the U.S. Navy awarded the company a contract worth as much as $638 million to provide Navy ships with a networked common computing environment. In January of that year, the Navy also began using Northrop’s high-altitude drone to monitor activity in Iran. Last year, the company was awarded nearly $8.6 billion in such contracts, second-most of any company in the nation. The company’s arms sales, which totaled more than $19 billion in 2012, accounted for 77% of its total revenue that year. The company’s 2012 profit was nearly $2 billion.