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LOCKHEED PLANS NO CHANGE AT PALMDALE; SKUNK WORKS TO STAY IN REORGANIZED FOLD.

Byline: Daily News Staff and Wire Services

A Lockheed Martin Skunk Works spokesman said the company won't be affected by corporate plans to sell eight businesses and reorganize management.

Lockheed Martin Corp. officials Monday announced that the company will be reorganized into four main business divisions, cutting out a layer of management, and that businesses dealing in aerospace electronics, environmental management and control systems will be sold.

``I don't see any impact on us in Palmdale,'' said Skunk Works spokesman Gary Grigg. ``Our reporting chain has not changed at all.''

James A. ``Micky'' Blackwell will be the corporate executive vice president for Lockheed Martin's Aeronautical Systems core business, including the Skunk Works.

Under the previous organization, Blackwell was the president of the Aeronautics Sector, including the Skunk Works.

The new plan comes as Lockheed tries to show investors that it is rebounding from delayed aircraft deliveries and a series of rocket failures that cut into profit. Lockheed warned in June that it could earn as little as $1.50 a share this year and $2.15 next year, down from $2.63 a share last year and $3.05 in both 1996 and 1997.

Investors want to see Lockheed Chairman Vance Coffman send a bold message, analysts said.

Trimming midlevel management should make Lockheed ``a more agile company, which in turn should allow Lockheed Martin to avoid the problems that have dogged it in the past year,'' said Merrill Lynch analyst Byron Callan, who rates Lockheed a short-term ``neutral'' and a long-term ``buy.''

Lockheed said the changes won't hurt earnings this year and next. They include cutting the number of business lines from 27 to 17 and reducing the number of business divisions from five to four.

The asset sales could generate more than $1 billion in cash. Lockheed, based in Bethesda, Md., also will pursue joint ventures, partnership and spinoffs as part of the strategy to restore profit growth.

Lockheed Martin shares rose 1.5625 to 32.1875 in late-morning trading. The stock is down about 24 percent this year, the biggest decline of the eight stocks in the Standard & Poor's Aerospace/Defense Index.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 28, 1999
Words:355
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