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Lockheed plans to sell assets worth $1 billion

Lockheed Martin says it plans to sell at least $1 billion of assets in an effort to restore the aerospace giant's weakening financial position, according to published reports.

Lockheed Martin has said it plans to sell at least $1 billion of assets in an effort to restore the aerospace giant's weakening financial position, according to published reports.

Assets that are up for possible sale include parts of its military-aircraft electronics businesses, parts of its information services business, and a business unit that provides energy and environmental services, according to the Wall Street Journal, which cited Lockheed executives.

While Jim Fetig, a spokesperson for the company, declined to comment on specifics, Fetig did say that by virtue of the process of this review, which was previously announced, the company expects to improve its operational and organizational performance.

Other alternatives to help lift its sagging financial position will be discussed in today's regularly scheduled weekly board meeting. Ideas include possible joint ventures for certain Georgia-based military-aircraft programs, revamping its management structure at the company's headquarters in Bethesda, Maryland, examining a possible major partner for its global telecommunications business unit, and possibly combining its information services segment with telecommunications, according to the Journal.

In a statement released June 9, 1999, Lockheed had lowered its earnings projections for 1999 and 2000. The company had said it expects earnings per diluted share of at least $1.50 for this year, and at least $2.15 in 2000. At that time, Lockheed had said that reasons for the revised financial outlook were due to increased cost growth, reduced production rates, and delivery delays of launches and commercial satellite deliveries.

Two days after the earnings warning, Comsat had postponed its meeting with shareholders, which were ready to vote on the satellite maker's proposed acquisition by Lockheed. As previously reported, the proposed Lockheed-Comsat merger was valued at $2.7 billion when it was announced in September. Lockheed had said it would buy 49 percent of Comsat by paying $49.50 cash for each Comsat share and acquire the final 51 percent of Comsat with stock.

However, Lockheed's stock has fallen since the proposed deal, trading as high as 56.75 and as low as 33.75 in the past 52 weeks. In early trading today, Lockheed shares were up 1.18 at 36.37.