Pentagon Insider: Manitowoc Makes Out Well on a $1.3 Billion Day at the DoD

For many investors, the U.S. government seems a black box. Taxes go in, spending comes out — but with the exception of the occasional headline-grabbing megacontract, where the spending goes, and how much goes to whom, remains very much a mystery.

But if you look very carefully (and know where to look), you can sometimes get a glimpse at where the money is going. Believe it or not, one of the easiest places to spy on government spending is… the U.S. Pentagon.

Looks who’s sailing away with all the gold!
According to the Department of Defense’s latest daily update on contracts awarded, the Pentagon handed out $1.3 billion in contracts Friday. Chief among these was a $737 million order placed with General Atomics, to have that privately-held firm supply the U.S. Navy with Advanced Arresting Gear (AAG) and Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) to outfit the Navy’s newest supercarrier, the USS John F. Kennedy (CVN 79) for aircraft launch and recovery operations.

After GA’s award, the next biggest contract handed out went to Grove U.S. LLC, a subsidiary of The Manitowoc Company (NYSE:MTW). Manitowoc will be paid $192 million to supply the U.S. Army with an unspecified number of “Type II heavy cranes and support services and training” in a contract where delivery is expected to be complete by June 10, 2022.

Other notable winners for the day included:
– Rockwell Collins (NYSE:COL), which was awarded an extra $36.6 million on a contract to upgrade military GPS software code “and deliver additional pre-prototype GPS receiver cards” to the U.S. Air Force.
– And also Moog Inc. (NYSE:MOG-A), which won an $11.4 million award to supply “servocylinders” to be used aboard the nation’s fleet of B-1B bombers.

Insider trading notes
According to Form 4 filings with the SEC, not a single insider has bought a single share of Moog stock in the past year. On the contrary, 31 separate sales transactions have been recorded — and 114,747 shares sold.

Insider selling hasn’t been as constant at Rockwell Collins — but it’s still pretty unencouraging, with 12 sales reported over the past three months, versus just five buys, and significantly more shares sold than bought.

In stark contrast, it’s hard not to be impressed with what we’re seeing at Manitowoc. This conglomerate manufacturer of cranes and… kitchen equipment (!) has seen almost no selling at all over the past three months. To be precise, one insider sale, versus 13 open-market insider purchases. Purchases have outweighed sales by insiders by 258,613 shares over the past three months, and by nearly twice that over the past 12 months.

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