Updated from 2:17 p.m. EDT
OKLAHOMA CITY --
has lost its turf war.
( NAVZ) and
now rule the market for Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected vehicles, once Force Protection's stronghold. Those companies toppled Force Protection last week, when they dominated the latest contest for orders under the multibillion-dollar MRAP program.
Force Protection secured just 1% of that order. The company's stock plummeted 30% Monday to a 52-week low of $1.26 as a result. The same stock fetched $30 less than a year ago.
Last week's news was a real blow. All told, the U.S. military ordered 2,243 MRAP vehicles worth more than $1.1 billion on Friday. British-owned BAE scored the biggest prize, valued at $716 million, as two of its subsidiaries fielded calls for more than 1,000 MRAP vehicles. Meanwhile, Navistar landed a $410 million order for 743 of its increasingly popular MaxxPro trucks.
"Navistar's worldwide service network, manufacturing power and family of truck and engine products offers the U.S. military and our allies tremendous scale," boasted Archie Massicotte, president of Navistar's defense unit. "Building and servicing the MaxxPro MRAP is a privilege because this is about protecting our troops so they can fulfill their missions safely."
Force Protection used to make similar claims about its own MRAP -- popularly known as the Cougar -- when promoting troop safety not so long ago. But the company keeps running into landmines these days.
First, Force Protection started losing market share to Navistar and BAE last summer. Nevertheless, the company continued to expand in hopes of securing future orders. It also held on to its senior management team despite calls for seasoned industry veterans.
Not until this January did Force Protection replace embattled CEO Gordon McGilton. Another two months passed before the company took aim at its finance and operating chiefs as well.
By then, Force Protection had uncovered serious accounting problems that will require full-blown restatements down the road. Meanwhile, some feel, those missteps have cost the company some crucial military orders already.
Last week, shareholders rushed to file a series of purported class-action lawsuits in response. They claim that Force Protection was never as strong as it seemed, and credit sole-source contracts -- rather than superior vehicles -- for the company's early success. And they see a company that has repeatedly failed since it has been forced to actually compete for its business.
Wall Street analysts, who once fawned over Force Protection, have turned against the company as well. Several of them now recommend selling the shares.
Short sellers have been doing just that. They have sold more than 15% of Force Protection's stock short and, so far, have profited handsomely on the company's decline.
Know What You Own:
Force Protection operates in the trucks and vehicles sector of the consumer goods industry, and some of the other stocks in its field include
. These stocks were recently trading at ($50.95, -3.61%), ($33.94, +0.35%) and ($67.69, -0.03%) respectively. For more on the value of knowing what you own, visit TheStreet.com's