Operating profits for Northrop Grumman nudged higher as the aerospace and defense giant pulled in $53 billion in new business contracts last year. The crowning achievement came from its Space Systems unit, which landed a $13.3 billion missile-systems deal from the U.S. Air Force. Overall, sales jumped 9% year on year, enabling Northrop Grumman to leap 42 spots in the Global 500 rankings. In January 2021, the company’s board authorized a new plan to buy back $3 billion in shares. The stock has been on a tear since then, far outperforming the S&P 500.
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