Elbit Systems Ltd. Wins a Quarter-Billion Dollars in New Business

But what it's selling to earn all this money remains a mystery.

Apr 11, 2014 at 7:05PM

Don't look now, but Elbit Systems Ltd. (NASDAQ:ESLT) is on a roll. The question is: What, exactly, is keeping this defense contractor rolling?

Over the past week, Israel-based Elbit has announced the receipt of two contracts from foreign customers, worth $263 million combined. To put that number in context, $263 million is about 9% of the revenues Elbit ordinarily takes in in a year -- and the company just nabbed them in one week. This is also nearly as much money as the $300 million that Elbit is set to earn from selling state-of-the-art "C-MUSIC" on-airplane anti-shoulder-fired-missile laser defense systems to Israel's several commercial airlines over the next few years.

G
Artist's illustration of Elbit's C-MUSIC anti-missile system at work. Source: Elbit Systems

Details, please
When Elbit confirmed last month that it would sell Brazil a new Hermes 900 unmanned aerial vehicle to bolster that country's existing fleet of Hermes 450 drones, the company kept mum on the purchase price, revealing only the plane's intended purpose (enhancing aerial security during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Games in Brazil).

This time around, though, Elbit's telling us the value of its latest contract wins -- but keeping the details of what, exactly, it's selling on the down low. According to company press releases, the larger of the two awards, announced March 30, involves the supply of unspecified "defense electronic systems for ground applications" to an unnamed "European country" over a three-year term. No further details were provided. Very hush-hush.

Likewise with Elbit's announcement this morning of a $100 million, one-year sales deal to "the Latin American region." Here, it is supplying something alternately described as "a new innovative intelligence gathering system" and "a Homeland Security (HLS) solution." What exactly Elbit is selling, though, remains a mystery.

What it means to you
What we do know is this: Over the past week, Elbit has inked sales contracts for high-tech security-related electronics worth 9% of annual revenues. This continues -- and appears to even accelerate -- a trend of rising backlog at the company, which grew the value of orders received, and work waiting to be done, 2.4% in 2013.

With the majority of this backlogged work expected to be performed in 2014 and 2015, Elbit was already on track to hit analysts' predicted 1.6% profit growth in the coming year. Now, with the additional revenues coming online from the past week's contract wins, it appears Elbit may exceed expectations over the next year, and is is well on its way to securing analysts' forecasted 11% long-term-growth estimate as well.

For investors in Elbit Systems Ltd., this has been a very successful week indeed.

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Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned, and neither does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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