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L-3 Communications Holdings Inc. (LLL - Analyst Report) received two contracts worth approximately $39.7 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) on Friday, Apr 4, 2014. The deep and diversified portfolio of its product offerings enables the company to win defense contracts at regular intervals.

However, the share price edged down 1.2% on Monday, Apr 7, 2014 primarily due to slackness noticed in the overall trading index. The majority of big names in the aerospace and defense industry shed a part of their value in yesterday’s intraday trade.

The bigger of the two contracts, worth $24.7 million, was awarded to L-3 Communications Aerospace LLC. Per the contract, the L-3 unit will inspect, maintain and do repair work on different aircraft and aircraft components through Oct 28, 2014. This work will be done at the Corpus Christi Army Depot, Naval Air Station, Corpus Christi, TX.

The second contract, worth $15.0 million, was received by L-3 Kollmorgen Electro-Optical (KEO). Per the contract, this L-3 unit will work on the production of 16 universal modular masts (UMM). UMM is a non-hull penetrating mast which is installed on Virginia-class submarines. The program is scheduled to complete by May 2016. 74% of the work will be completed in Bologna, Italy and the remaining 26% will be done in Northampton, MA.

Apart from these contracts L-3 Communications had received another big contract from the DoD in the first quarter of 2014. The company’s Coleman Aerospace business received a contract worth $73 million from the U.S. Missile Defense Agency in Feb 2014. If both the parties agree, the contract may be extended to more than $400 million over the next five years.

L-3 Communications, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock, has been posting strong financial results, surpassing our estimates by 4.75% on an average in the last 4 quarters. The strong performance was driven by program execution capability, cost cutting initiatives as well as contribution from its international and commercial businesses.

L-3 Communications surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in the last reported quarter as well as full year 2013. For 2014, the company’s earnings guidance is in the range of $8.15 to $8.35 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2014 earnings is above the guidance range at $8.40 per share.
Besides L-3 Communications some of the other defense players to look out for include Huntington Ingalls Industries, Inc. (HII - Snapshot Report), General Dynamics Corp. (GD - Analyst Report) and Raytheon Co. (RTN - Analyst Report). While Huntington Ingalls holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Raytheon and General Dynamics carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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