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Worldwide interest in Raytheon's Patriot air-defense system has sent stock in the Lexington-based defense contractor soaring 24 percent in the past three months to near $52 a share.
Despite planned U.S. defense cutbacks, Raytheon's diversification into energy and environmental services and the continued strong sales of its Patriot missile overseas have analysts bullish on the company's future.
The company (NYSE: RTN) won a $1 billion contract from Saudi Arabia for 13 Patriot firing units and 761 missiles in December. This month, Kuwait signed on for five systems and 210 missiles worth $327 million.
Turkey, Israel, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates, along with non-Middle Eastern countries such as the United Kingdom, have all expressed interest in buying the system. In addition, Raytheon is working feverishly to land contracts from other countries such as Taiwan and South Korea.
Raytheon could potentially sell more than 50 systems to …