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Hexcel Shares Up 6% As Q1 Profit Tops View, Boosts 2012 Outlook

Shares of Hexcel Corp. (HXL) rose nearly 6 percent in extended trading on Monday after the composite materials manufacturer reported a better-then-expected profit for the first quarter that surged from last year, boosted by improved margins and strong sales growth. The company also raised its earnings and revenue forecast for the full-year 2012, citing favorable year-to-date results and market outlook.

Meanwhile, sales grew and topped analysts' expectations, boosted by strong revenue growth at Hexcel's commercial aerospace segment amid new aircraft programs at Boeing Co. (BA) and Airbus.

"This was another strong quarter for Hexcel, as solid execution combined with increased sales delivered excellent results," CEO David Berges said in a statement.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company reported net income of $39.6 million or $0.39 per share for the first quarter, higher than $26.4 million or $0.26 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the quarter surged to $39.6 million or $0.39 per share from $25.3 million or $0.25 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.33 per share for the first quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter increased 20.7 percent to $400.1 million from $331.60 million in the same quarter last year, and topped fourteen Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $371.81 million. Meanwhile, net sales in constant currency grew 22.0 percent.

Segment-wise, commercial aerospace sales rose 22.6 percent or 23.7 percent in constant currency, to $242.3 million, boosted by new aircraft programs at Airbus and Boeing.

Industrial sales grew 34.3 percent or 37.3 percent in constant currency, to $72.9 million, and space & defense sales were up 6.5 percent or 7.5 percent in constant currency, to $84.9 million from last year.

Operating margin for the quarter grew expanded 90 basis points to 15.1 percent from last year, and gross margin percentage advanced 160 basis points to 26.6 percent from last year.

Looking ahead ahead to fiscal 2012, the company raised its adjusted earnings guidance to $1.45 to $1.55 pr share from the prior forecast of $1.33 to $1.45 per share. Sales are now projected to be in the range of $1.55 billion to $1.65 billion, up from the earlier outlook between $1.5 billion and $1.6 billion.

Street is currently looking for full-year 2012 earnings of $1.41 per share, on annual revenue of $1.55 billion.

"2012 has gotten off to a very strong start. Our capital expansion program continues on our accelerated schedule, as we add capacity to meet surging demand," Berges added.

HXL closed Monday's regular trading session at $26.29, down $0.17 or 0.64% on a volume of 0.97 million shares. However, the stock surged $1.45 or 5.52% in after-hours trading.

by RTT Staff Writer

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