Billionaire investor Carl Icahn in a filing said he owned 9.5 percent of Oshkosh Corp. (OSK), the U.S. military’s biggest supplier of armored trucks, and sought talks with the company to enhance shareholder value.
Following Icahn’s announcement, Oshkosh rose 8.3 percent in New York trading after closing at $28.94. The shares had declined 17.9 percent this year. The Standard & Poor’s Supercomposite Aerospace & Defense Index has gained 11.7 percent in the same period.
Oshkosh, based in the city of the same name in Wisconsin, reported 2010 sales of $9.8 billion. The company’s defense revenue nearly quadrupled to $7.2 billion last year from $1.9 billion in 2008 largely because of the military’s demand for mine-resistant trucks for use in Iraq and Afghanistan. The company’s fire, emergency, construction and trash-hauling trucks accounted for 37 percent of sales last year.
In a June 16 interview Chief Executive Officer Charles Szews said the company may seek acquisitions to boost growth starting in 2012.
“We do not see any acquisitions in 2011, but starting in 2012 and ‘13, we will at that point reconsider,” Szews said. With a “downturn” anticipated in U.S. defense spending, the price of defense companies may start to look “more attractive,” he said.
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