Lockheed Martin speeds up payments to suppliers amid coronavirus slowdown

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Lockheed Martin is seen at Euronaval, the world naval defence exhibition in Le Bourget near Paris, France, October 23, 2018. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense contractor Lockheed Martin Corp LMT.N said on Friday that it would advance more than $50 million to suppliers hurt by a sharp economic slowdown caused by efforts to stop the coronavirus.

Reuters had reported last week that the Pentagon was increasing the amount of interim payments, known as progress payments, to defense contractors. The largest contractors were to get payments of 90% as they work to complete projects.

Lockheed said in an email statement from CEO Marillyn Hewson that the company would advance more than $50 million to small- and medium-sized companies in its supply chain to keep them afloat.

The company also said it give $16.5 million to efforts aimed at coronavirus relief and would offer facilities and corporate aircraft and vehicles if needed for medical efforts or logistics. “We also recognize that the global pandemic has created a need for urgent action by government, business, communities and citizens,” Hewson said in the statement.

Reporting by Diane Bartz; Editing by Nick Zieminski