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Lockheed raises doubts about ULA
Posted: Wed, Apr 26, 2006, 8:06 AM ET (1206 GMT)
Atlas 5 411 launch of Astra 1KR (ILS) Lockheed Martin's board will revisit plans to merge its EELV operations with Boeing later this week, company executives said Tuesday. In a conference call with analysts to discuss the company's latest earnings statement, officials said that the United Launch Alliance (ULA) will be discussed at a regularly-scheduled meeting of the company's board of directors on Thursday. Lockheed and Boeing announced nearly a year ago that they would create the joint venture to merge their government launch vehicle operations, combining both manufacturing and management to save money. Formal government approval of the ULA has been delayed for months, though, as the Pentagon weighs concerns from other companies and considers an agreement to address those issues while allowing the ULA to go ahead. Prior to Tuesday's statement both Lockheed and Boeing remained committed to the ULA, even though a provision in the original agreement allowed either side to back out of the deal didn't close by the end of March. The news overshadowed good financial news for the company's space systems unit, which reported an operating profit of $193 million on $1.97 billion in net sales in the first quarter, an improvement over the $153 million profit on $1.66 billion in sales for the same quarter of 2005. the company credited the increased sales in part on higher government and commercial satellite sales.
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