U.S. military spending may be flat, but that’s not proving to be much of a problem for Israeli defense company Elbit Systems Ltd.
That’s because the company, while long dependent on the U.S. for much of its sales, has been shifting its focus to faster growing markets in Asia and Latin America. Elbit said last month that demand from those regions helped push up its backlog of orders to $6.3 billion at year-end, an 8 percent jump from 2013. The stock has rallied 13 percent since, touching a record $74.55 in New York on April 7.
It’s not that Elbit has turned its back on the U.S. market — the U.S. accounted for 28 percent of sales last year, still the biggest slice from any single country, including Israel. But unlike U.S. defense contractors that focus on large programs like airplanes, ships and tanks, Elbit is succeeding with niche products and services in high demand in emerging markets, like upgrading aircraft systems and enhancing cyberwarfare capabilities. […]