Lockheed Martin Corp. (LMT), the world’s largest defense company, is establishing a unit dedicated to export business as it seeks to offset declining sales at home amid Pentagon spending cuts.
The effort is focused on strengthening existing ties and building new ones, Lockheed Martin President and Chief Executive Officer Marillyn Hewson told reporters in London today. The business will have dual headquarters in London and in the Washington D.C. area.
U.S. defense contractors are increasingly looking overseas for sales, particularly in Asia and the Middle East. Some of Bethesda, Maryland-based Lockheed Martin’s European and U.S. rivals have been boosting their presence abroad to win orders overseas.
“Lockheed Martin International is a key component of our growth strategy,” Hewson said. “We are bringing additional resources and we are bringing additional leadership focus.”
The maker of the U-2 high-altitude reconnaissance jet and Trident ballistic missiles wants to boost sales from exports in the coming years to 20 percent of revenue from 17 percent, Hewson said. About $8 billion in sales currently stem from overseas business, she said.
The company, which has seven corporate offices, will expand some foreign locations and consider adding more, Hewson said. In the U.K., its largest operation outside the U.S., it’s adding 400 staff this year, she said.
Pat Dewar, who will head the business, said sales of the company’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter to foreign buyers will equal those to the Pentagon over the next five years. Export customers include the U.K., Australia, and Israel. As the company expands overseas, it’s offset responsibility, the value of transactions that buying countries require to flow back to them, will also grow, Dewar said.
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