(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.
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.
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.