Lockheed seeks to use tax reform benefits on pension, training, R&D

By Marjorie Censer / January 29, 2018

With the enactment of tax reform legislation, Lockheed Martin is weighing several ways to spend the anticipated benefits, according to the company's chief executive.

Marillyn Hewson said during a morning call with analysts today the company is still considering how to best use its projected gains, but said the legislation presents "incredible potential." Already, she said, the company has opted to accelerate payments into its pension trust, contributing $5 billion in cash in 2018. This satisfies the company's required contributions until 2021, Hewson added.

She said the company is also planning to spend $200 million more in 2018 on capital expenditures and research and development.

Lockheed is weighing putting additional money into employee training; into charitable contributions in science, technology, engineering and math programs, including potentially creating a scholarship fund; and into Lockheed Martin Ventures' investment fund.

"Our vision is to differentiate ourselves," Hewson said. "We want to also enhance the skills of our current workforce."

Lockheed announced today its sales in 2017 hit $51 billion, up about 8 percent from 2016.

However, the company reported profit for the year of $2 billion, down from $5.3 billion the prior year. Lockheed attributed the decline to a one-time, mostly non-cash charge of $1.9 billion related to the estimated impacts of the new tax legislation.

The contractor reported that sales in all four of its business units increased in 2017.

Lockheed's aeronautics group saw the greatest revenue increase; the unit reported sales in 2017 of $20.1 billion, up 13 percent from the prior year.

The contractor attributed the boost to about $2 billion more in F-35 program revenue.