Who Got Hurt the Worst in the Government Shutdown?

The Pentagon wasn't shut down, but government contractors still felt a pinch.

Motley Fool Staff
Motley Fool Staff
Feb 4, 2019 at 11:00PM
Energy, Materials, and Utilities

The partial shutdown that ended in mid-January was the longest in history. Motley Fool's Nick Sciple and Fool.com contributor Lou Whiteman discuss whose results are most at risk from the work stoppage, and what the defense titans are saying about it, on this segment of Industry Focus: Energy.

A full transcript follows the video.

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This video was recorded on Jan. 31, 2019.

Nick Sciple: Outside of the foreign arms sales, were there any companies in particular that may have been more affected by the shutdown than others? How did those chips fall across the industry and the companies that operate in it?

Lou Whiteman: Fortunately for the big guys, they're big companies. Again, this is mostly a first quarter 2019, early in the quarter, so there's a lot of time for reimbursement, a lot of time to catch up. One company that it feels like could be impacted more than others is SAIC, which is a government services contractor. They do a lot of IT work. They do a lot of work with systems. They have a lot of work with NASA. They're unfortunately on a calendar that their quarter ends Jan. 31. So they're both a smaller revenue company, so any hit is going to be felt disproportionately, and, in the current quarter, it's all going to be soaked up. They've been pretty public warning Wall Street that there could be an impact to the current quarter, which makes me think that it is a concern. There was a number, it's a few weeks old now, but on Jan. 7, they met with investors and said it was a $50 million impact so far, plus maybe about $10 million in employee compensation for work being not done that's going to have to be, hopefully, reimbursed. It's a company with a little over a billion dollars in revenue expected in the quarter. With how long the shutdown went, it definitely could take a toll on their eventual quarter that ends at the end of the month.

Sciple: That will be our first look at how any of these companies was affected by the shutdown. We had a lot of defense contractors reporting earnings in this past week. Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrop. Of course, those numbers are not embracing a significant chunk of the government shutdown. However, they did give relatively muted guidance looking out into next year. Can you talk about that a little bit?

Whiteman: Sure. Yeah, this is earnings weeks for these companies, so we're just digesting them now. All of the big four -- Lockheed, Northrop, General Dynamics, and Raytheon -- have all surprised me, and I think surprised the markets, with their conservative guidance. A lot of what you're seeing is uncertainty about when some of these big, long, multi-year items are going to actually get paid, and how quickly things will happen.

Lockheed Martin took the step of adding impact of government shutdown to their forward-looking statements as a possible thing that could go wrong. As far as I know, that's brand new. That wasn't there before. They're the biggest defense contractor in the world, and even at their scale, this is something that they're thinking of, something that they're factoring into what could go wrong for them, especially given the budget negotiations that are coming up on the horizon.


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