Companies Profiting the Most From War

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5. General Dynamics
> Arm sales 2012: $20.9 billion
> Total sales 2012: $31.5 billion
> 2012 profit: -$332 million
> 2012 employment: 92,200

Like many of its defense-sector competitors, Virginia-based General Dynamics Corp. (NYSE: GD) felt the sting of the decreased U.S. military spending. The company, which specializes in aircraft, land and expeditionary combat vehicles, and shipbuilding, lost $332 million in 2012, and its arms sales totaled $20.9 billion, down from $23.3 billion the year before. The loss was due, in large part, to a $2 billion goodwill charge related to declining business opportunities in the defense sector. In its most recent year, the company reported a 16.4% drop in sales in its combat systems group, for which the U.S. Army is major customer.

4. Raytheon
> Arm sales 2012: $22.5 billion
> Total sales 2012: $24.4 billion
> 2012 profit: $1.9 billion
> 2012 employment: 67,800

While Raytheon’s 2012 arm sales of $22.5 billion were slightly lower compared to 2011, they remained high enough for the company to rank fourth among arms companies. The company, which traces its history back to 1922, assisted the United States in multiple wars, as well as the Apollo 11 moon landing. Raytheon Co. (NYSE: RTN) provides services in a variety of fields, from air and missile defense to radar and cybersecurity. In all, 92% of the company’s sales came from arms sales in 2012. But while the U.S. has cut defense spending in recent years, Raytheon has benefited from a surge in exports to foreign countries, which has helped to offset federal government belt-tightening.

3. BAE Systems
> Arm sales 2012: $26.9 billion
> Total sales 2012: $28.3 billion
> 2012 profit: $2.6 billion
> 2012 employment: 88,200

BAE Systems is the largest non-U.S. military contractor. It had $26.9 billion in arms sales in 2012, which represented some 95% of the company’s total sales. However, the British company’s year-over-year arms sales declined that year from $29.2 billion in 2011. Cuts by England’s Ministry of Defence have taken a toll on the company. As the U.K.’s largest military contractor, it received 13.7% of procurement funds spent in 2012 to 2013. In May 2012, the company announced it would close its Armstrong plant — which made tanks for the nation in World War I and had been in operation since 1847 — and cut 330 jobs as a result. BAE’s failed $45 billion merger with fellow defense contractor EADS in 2012 also hurt prospective sales of England’s main fighter jet, the British Tornado, for which BAE makes the parts.

2. Boeing
> Arm sales 2012: $27.6 billion
> Total sales 2012: $81.7 billion
> 2012 profit: $3.9 billion
> 2012 employment: 174,400

Although arms sales accounted for just 34% of Boeing’s revenue in 2012, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) was still the world’s second largest military contractor that year. In all, the company’s total revenue was nearly $82 billion in 2012. The company’s commercial airplane segment accounted for a large portion of its sales, with $49.1 billion in revenue that year. Boeing ended 2012 with $3.9 billion in profit and with more than 174,400 employees. Last year, Boeing and union workers in Washington state engaged in heated negotiations, with Boeing threatening to move jobs away from the state unless union workers agreed to concessions related to their pension plan.

1. Lockheed Martin
> Arm sales 2012: $36 billion
> Total sales 2012: $47.2 billion
> 2012 profit: 2.7 billion
> 2012 employment: 120,000

In 2012, Lockheed Martin Corp. (NYSE: LMT) led the world in arms sales, even as its arms sales declined slightly from $36.2 billion in 2011 to $36 billion in 2012. Such sales accounted for 95% of the Maryland company’s total revenue. The company, which employed 120,000 workers as of 2012, specializes in aerospace, global security and information technology systems for the military. It is also known for the C-5 Galaxy Class airplane — the largest air military transport plane in the world. Lockheed Martin has been the largest recipient of government procurement contracts and the top-ranked company on the Washington Technology Top 100 for 19 consecutive years. However, this has also left the company exposed to changes in the federal budget. In October 2012, at the request of President Obama, the company held off on firing thousands of workers that it previously warned it would have to lay off due to military spending cuts.

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