General Dynamics Corp.’s (GD - Free Report) business division, Electric Boat, recently secured a modification contract for economic ordering quantity material associated with the fiscal 2019-2023 Virginia class submarines. Work related to the deal is scheduled to be completed by January 2019.
Details of the Deal
Valued at $225 million, the contract was awarded by Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, D.C. Electric Boat will utilize fiscal 2018 shipbuilding and conversion (Navy) funds to finance the task.
Work for the modification will be carried out in Spring Grove, IL; Bethlehem, PA; and several different locations across the United States.
A Brief Note on Virginia-Class Submarine
The Virginia-class submarine program is a class of nuclear-powered fast-attack submarines (SSNs) serving the U.S. Navy. These submarines are designed for a broad spectrum of open-ocean and littoral missions, jointly constructed by General Dynamics and Huntington Ingalls Industries.
Intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations as well as mine warfare are also carried out by these fast-attack submarines. Notably, these vessels are one of the three classes of attack submarines used by the U.S. Navy. The other two are the Los Angeles class and the Seawolf class. Valued around $2.7 billion each, these three submarines will be operational until 2070.
What’s Favoring General Dynamics?
General Dynamics enjoys a dominant position as a Navy contractor. This is because it is one of the only two contractors in the world that are equipped to build nuclear-powered submarines.
In December 2015, the Navy updated its force-level goal from its prior target to achieve and maintain a 308-ship fleet, which included 48 SSNs to 355-ship fleet, comprising 66 SSNs. Thereby, reflecting the immense priority that the U.S. Navy bestows upon this class of nuclear submarines.
However, the number of SSNs is expected to decline by more than 20% over the next decade due to a smaller number of procurements done in the 90’s. This means, to reach the force-level goal, the U.S. Navy should accelerate their procurement rate in the coming days. For the Virginia-Class submarines, an increased number of procurement contracts can be expected from the Pentagon, which in turn should boost General Dynamics’ profit margin effectively.
Furthermore, the U.S. Navy has acknowledged the Virginia-class program as its top priority and allotted an upmarket budget for the same. This also bodes well for General Dynamics as it is the prime contractor for this program.
In a year’s time, shares of General Dynamics have lost 4.2% against the industry’s rally of 34%. The underperformance may have been caused by the intense competition that General Dynamics faces in the aerospace-defense space.
Zacks Rank & Key Picks
General Dynamics currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A few better-ranked stocks in the same industry are Northrop Grumman (NOC - Free Report) , Boeing (BA - Free Report) and Textron (TXT - Free Report) . While Northrop Grumman sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Boeing and Textron carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
Northrop Grumman delivered an average positive earnings surprise of 13.87% in the last four quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings moved up 81 cents to $16.40 in the last 60 days.
Boeing pulled off an average positive earnings surprise of 29.51% in the trailing four quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings climbed 62 cents to $14.67 in the last 60 days.
Textron came up with an average positive earnings surprise of 16.6% in the last four quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2018 earnings moved north 10 cents to $3.15 in the last 60 days.
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