(Updated to include comments from an Oshkosh spokeswoman and closing stock prices.)
shares rose dramatically Wednesday after the company scored a $1 billion contract from the U.S. military to provide more than 2,000 armored fighting vehicles, mostly for use by Army and Marine units in the intensifying warzones of Afghanistan.
One of four groups competing for the contract (others included British defense group
), Oshkosh was was declared the lone winner.
The Pentagon, which fast-tracked the vehicle's development, has said that it could eventually order 10,000 of the trucks.
The conflict in Afghanistan will be a boon to Oshkosh; the company won a $1 billion order to supply U.S. troops with armored fighting vehicles, such as this M-ATV.
Shares of the company shot higher by 27%, or $3.89, to $18.43 in afternoon trading Wednesday. Volume reached 10.5 million shares, more than ten times the daily average. The stock was approaching its 52-week high of $20.95, which it touched last July.
Oskhosh's truck, part of a class known as the Mine Resisted Ambush Protected (or MRAP) vehicle, was commissioned and designed specifically to withstand attacks from the kinds of homemade bombs that have wreaked havoc in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Assembled and planted by insurgents, the bombs -- and the U.S. soldiers who defuse them -- are the subject of the recently released film,
The first trucks will start rolling off Oshkosh factory floors in August. Under a preliminary schedule set by the Pentagon, the company expects to deliver the full order (2,224 vehicles) over a period of nine months, said Ann Stawski, an Oshkosh spokeswoman.
Though the military had wanted whatever company it picked for the contract to look into joining up with another manufacturer to aid in producing the vehicles quickly, Stawksi said that Oshkosh has more than enough capacity at its plants to handle the order on its own.
With the conflict in Afghanistan ratcheting up, and with popular controversy long having stewed in the U.S. over the lack of armored equipment for U.S. soldiers in Iraq, the MRAP development program was deemed urgent and financed by the Pentagon under a $17.6 billion emergency fund.
Shares of General Dynamics were trading relatively flat Wednesday, up 29 cents to $55.68.
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