Lockheed aims to conquer markets outside U.S.

Fri Jun 21, 2013 7:31am EDT
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By Andrea Shalal-Esa

PARIS (Reuters) - Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N: Quote), already the biggest U.S. weapons maker and largest provider of IT services to the U.S. government, wants to become a powerhouse in foreign markets such as the Middle East and India, a top executive said.

Lockheed made about 17 percent of its $47 billion of revenue abroad in 2012, or $8 billion, and will "absolutely" exceed its current goal of 20 percent, Pat Dewar, senior vice president for corporate strategy and business development, told Reuters.

The maker of the F-35 fighter jet and Aegis missile systems still lags rivals Raytheon Co (RTN.N: Quote), with about 26 percent of sales from abroad, and Boeing Co's (BA.N: Quote) defense division, which says about 42 percent of its backlog is outside the United States. Both rivals are targeting 30 percent foreign revenue.

"We're moving much more aggressively in the international domain," Dewar said at the Paris Airshow, without giving a new target. "We're going global in a much bigger way."

Lockheed and other big U.S. arms manufacturers are looking to exports and foreign markets to provide continued growth as U.S. military spending slows amid mounting fiscal pressures, and the end of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Lockheed is already working in 70 countries and has what it calls "home team capability" in Britain, Australia and Canada. Now it plans to pump up local operations in other areas such as the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, Japan and India.

"We are going to move the corporation from being essentially overwhelmingly U.S. with international sales, to being a healthy local delivery system in those countries where the governmental relations are strong, and where industry relations are strong or can be strengthened," Dewar said.

Lockheed hopes focusing more on local operations, rather than merely selling products or bringing in experts from U.S. sites, will give it the edge over its competitors, Dewar said.   Continued...

Workers can be seen on the moving line and forward fuselage assembly areas for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter at Lockheed Martin Corp's factory located in Fort Worth, Texas in this October 13, 2011 handout photo provided by Lockheed Martin. REUTERS/Lockheed Martin/Randy A. Crites/Handout