U.S. budget uncertainty slowing contract awards -Northrop

WASHINGTON, July 24 Wed Jul 24, 2013 1:02pm EDT

WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) - Northrop Grumman Corp Chief Executive Wes Bush on Wednesday said continuing uncertainty about U.S. budgets was leading to delays in contract awards, which made it difficult to predict the company's backlog by the end of the year.

Bush said the company was working closely with the Pentagon and other customers to make clear to them that delays in contract awards could lead to higher costs.

"Many of our customers are ... holding back waiting to see what may or may not happen," Bush told analysts on an earnings call, adding that prolonged delays could increase costs in some cases.

He said Northrop was working with its customers to "help understand where things need to get put on contract to actually reduce costs" and ensure that things were operating as efficiently as the currently inefficient environment allowed.

At the end of June, the company's order backlog was $37.7 billion, down 7.5 percent from December.

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