For years, we've been reading nothing but tales of doom about the defense industry, and as the U.S. Pentagon pares its budget, allies across the seas follow suit. And yet, at the same time that traditional buyers of weapons systems step back, a new breed of buyer is stepping up. Case in point: Last year we discussed a massive arms purchase that Saudi Arabia is negotiating for everything from Boeing
And it's about to get even bigger.
Flush Saudis, armed with credit cards
Last week, we learned that Saudi Arabia is in the market for a few good warships as well. Now, this isn't a totally new development. As part of the $90 billion deal mentioned above, the Saudis have voiced a desire to purchase the new Littoral Combat Ships being built by General Dynamics
Built by both Northrop Grumman
What's it mean to investors?
How big of a deal is this? Some media reports say the DDGs would make up part of a $20 billion naval warship package. Others put the value at $30 billion. Either way, much of this purchase price is presumably earmarked for the LCS warships mentioned earlier. So we're probably only talking about a $3.5 billion bump to the biggest defense deal ever. Small potatoes, right?
In the grand scheme of things, perhaps. But remember that this additional revenue would be split among just three companies. Of these, a destroyer deal would most benefit newly independent Huntington Ingalls. The shipbuilder only takes in about $6 billion a year, after all. Two new destroyer contracts could really move the needle there.
My advice: Huntington Ingalls shareholders should watch this deal like a hawk. To do so, add it to your Fool Watchlist.