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Hexcel Fourth Quarter Results Top Estimates; Reaffirms 2013 Outlook

Composite materials manufacturer Hexcel Corp. (HXL) reported Thursday a profit for the fourth quarter that grew 7 percent from last year, reflecting higher provision for income taxes. Both adjusted earnings per share and quarterly revenues missed analysts' expectations. The company also reaffirmed its earnings and revenue forecast for the full-year 2013.

"Despite the expected dip in sales to wind turbines (down 15% in constant currency for the quarter) and higher investment in Research & Technology, this was our best fourth quarter (and full year) in history for sales, gross margin, operating income and adjusted net income," CEO David Berges said in a statement.

The Stamford, Connecticut-based company reported net income of $36.9 million or $0.36 per share for the fourth quarter, lower than $39.5 million or $0.39 per share in the prior-year quarter.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the quarter was $36.9 million or $0.36 per share, compared to $33.7 million or $0.33 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 13 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $0.39 per share for the fourth quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Net sales for the quarter increased 9 percent to $387.3 million from $355.30 million in the same quarter last year, but missed thirteen Wall Street analysts' consensus estimate of $393.33 million. Meanwhile, net sales in constant currency grew 9.5 percent.

Segment-wise, commercial aerospace sales rose 11.2 percent or 11.0 percent in constant currency, to $234 million, boosted by new aircraft programs at Airbus and Boeing.

Industrial sales declined 11.6 percent or 9.7 percent in constant currency, to $60 million, while space & defense sales were up 21.1 percent or 21.9 percent in constant currency, to $93 million from last year.

Gross margin for the quarter advanced 60 basis points to 24.7 percent from last year's 24.1 percent.

Fiscal 2012, the company reported net income of $164.3 million or $1.61 per share, higher than $135.5 million or $1.35 per share in the prior year.

Excluding items, adjusted net income for the year was $159.0 million or $1.56 per share, compared to $124.9 million or $1.24 per share in the year ago. Analysts expected the company to report earnings of $1.59 per share for fiscal 2012.

Net sales for the full year increased 13 percent to $1.59 billion from $1.39 billion in the previous year. Street was looking for full-year 2012 revenues of $1.58 billion.

Looking ahead ahead to fiscal 2013, the company reaffirmed its adjusted earnings guidance in the range of $1.66 to $1.78 pr share, on projected sales between $1.64 billion and $1.74 billion.

Street is currently looking for full-year 2013 earnings of $1.77 per share, on annual revenue of $1.71 billion.

"Despite continued uncertainty about the global economy, the large backlog of orders at our major customers suggest we are well positioned for 2013 and beyond. We remain focused on delivering earnings leverage and cash on anticipated higher sales in the coming years," Berges added.

HXL closed Wednesday's regular trading session at $27.65, down $0.18 or 0.65% on a volume of 0.96 million shares.

by RTT Staff Writer

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