General Dynamics (NYSE: GD) today reported third-quarter 2020 net earnings of $834 million on revenue of $9.4 billion. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) were $2.90. Revenue was up 1.8% over the previous quarter, while net earnings and diluted EPS grew 33%.
“As we manage through this challenging time, we remain focused on the basics of operating performance, especially cash conversion and the early and aggressive management of costs, as evidenced this quarter by our strong operating margin and return on sales,” said Phebe N. Novakovic, chairman and chief executive officer. “Moreover, we continue to reduce debt and invest in the company for future growth.”
Company-wide operating margin for the quarter was 11.5%, a 240 basis-point increase from the previous quarter, with a notable increase of 620 basis points in the Aerospace segment’s margin. Return on sales was 8.8%, a 210 basis-point increase over the previous quarter.
Net cash provided by operating activities in the quarter totaled $1.1 billion, or 134% of net earnings. Free cash flow from operations, defined as net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures, was $903 million, a 108% conversion of net earnings.
In the third quarter, the company reduced its net debt by $388 million to $11.9 billion, a decrease of 3.2% from the previous quarter. Capital expenditures were $216 million, or 2.3% of revenue.
General Dynamics’ total backlog at the end of third-quarter 2020 was $81.5 billion, up 21% from the year-ago quarter. Estimated potential contract value, representing management’s estimate of value in unfunded indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contracts and unexercised options, was $50.4 billion. Total estimated contract value, the sum of all backlog components, was $131.9 billion at the end of the quarter.
Significant awards in the quarter included $870 million to deliver 8×8 combat vehicles and provide maintenance and life cycle support to the Spanish Ministry of Defense; a contract with a maximum potential value of $760 million from the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) for enterprise information technology and cybersecurity services and solutions; a contract with a maximum potential value of $365 million to provide command, control and communications capabilities for the DoD; an IDIQ contract with a maximum potential value of $250 million from the U.S. Army to produce Small Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) vehicles; $240 million from the U.S. Navy for ship maintenance and repair services; a contract with a maximum potential value of $240 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services for cloud services and software tools; $155 million from the Navy for Advanced Nuclear Plant Studies (ANPS) in support of various submarine programs; $145 million for several key Information Technology contracts to provide intelligence services to classified customers; and $140 million for several key Mission Systems contracts for classified customers.