(By Balaseshan) Esterline Technologies Corp. (NYSE: ESL), a manufacturing company serving aerospace and defense customers, reported better-than-expected fourth quarter earnings helped by strong growth across its business and lower cost of sales.
Earnings for the fourth quarter were $61.66 million or $1.97 per share, up from $19.44 million or $0.62 per share last year.
Sales grew to $530.66 million from $502.40 million.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters had expected profit of $1.60 per share on revenue of $523.70 million for the fourth quarter.
Sales from Avionics & Controls rose to $220.36 million from $209.92 million, while Sensors & Systems sales grew to $174.44 million from $163.77 million. Advanced Materials sales increased to $135.86 million from $128.71 million.
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Gross margin increased to 38.5% from 30.5% in the previous year quarter. The prior-year period included the effect of purchase accounting related to the Souriau acquisition that lowered gross margin performance in that period.
New orders increased 23% to $607 million. Backlog increased to $1.32 billion at October 26, 2012 from $1.25 billion at the end of the prior year.
Looking ahead into the fiscal 2013, the company projects earnings per share (EPS) of $5.45 to $5.80, while Street predicts $5.54, and currently expects organic sales growth of about 4%.
The full-year EPS range incorporates first quarter EPS in the range of $0.45 to $0.60. First quarter sales are expected to be in the range of $450 million to $480 million, while Street predicts $497.68 million. The first quarter results will also include the severance impact of selective workforce reductions related to the slowdown in defense activity at several operations.
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ESL closed Thursday's regular session up 1.98% at $60.65. The stock has been trading between $49.97 and $76.86 for the past 52 weeks.