The defense sector has managed to influence members of Congress this year by spending nearly $62 million on lobbying activities.
While not the biggest contributor to politicians from the business world, here are five companies that have spent the most during the 2013-2014 cycle.
Lockheed Martin (NYSE: LMT)
Lockheed Martin took the top spot with a total of $2.4 million in spending. The maker of the high-tech F-35 joint strike fighter, which has been plagued with cost overruns and schedule delays since its inception, depends on the program for a significant portion of its business.
The lobbying money is probably well spent. The company is trying to get back in the good graces of the government, as the three variants of the F-35 transition from flight testing to operational status over the next few years.
Northrop Grumman (NYSE: NOC)
Northrop Grumman primed the Congressional pump to the tune of $2.3 million over the last 18 months.
Some of that money might have been spent on the company’s losing bid for the KC-46A aerial refueling tanker. The loss could have cost Northrop over $30 billion in potential sales to the Air Force over the life of the program.
Although defense comprises just 14 percent of its revenue base, aerospace giant Boeing managed to finish in the third spot in the rankings. The Illinois-based Boeing, which bested Northrop in the completion for the KC-46A, spent just under $2 million, a relatively small fraction of overall corporate sales.
The company is teaming with fellow industrial giant United Technologies (fifth on the list with $1.2 million) in a bid to build the next generation family of Army helicopters. Part of the lobbying effort was probably geared towards that program, potentially worth up to 0 billion if the Pentagon selects the team. Investors might want to root for the two companies to succeed in its efforts.
Raytheon (NYSE: RTN)
Raytheon rounds out the top five. The company depends on the government for the large majority of its business, which includes integrated defense systems and the Patriot missile, among other programs. The $1.7 million spent is very small when compared to the more than billion in business the company does with the government annually.
Raytheon might be using the lobbying effort to increase revenue, which has been declining over the last few years. In spite of that trend, Raytheon has still been able to boost EPS through share buybacks and operational improvements.
The defense sector makes up a small fraction of the Congressional lobbying effort by U.S. corporations. In a bid to influence politicians to appropriate funds for their own projects, the top five contractors spent just $9.5 million over the last 18 months, a very small portion of revenue. Still, investors may want to pay attention in order to share in the benefits.
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