Raytheon optimistic about ’09
Defense company expects higher earnings this year
By Stephen Manning
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
WASHINGTON — Defense contractor Raytheon Co. on Thursday forecast higher earnings this year as a big order backlog and prospects for more overseas sales overshadowed news of lower fourth-quarter income.
Raytheon’s Tucson-based Missile Systems business unit reported slightly lower quarterly sales and operating income.
The company is the latest Pentagon weapons supplier to paint a fairly optimistic picture despite turmoil in the broader economy and the threat of possible defense spending cuts.
Like Lockheed Martin Corp. and General Dynamics Corp., Raytheon said it enters this year with a big reservoir of orders for its missiles, defense electronics and other military equipment. The current defense budget is over $600 billion, a record level. And Raytheon’s top executive said the company is ready for the extra scrutiny the Pentagon plans for big defense programs.