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NCI Loss Narrows, But Sales Miss Estimates; Stock Tanks - Update

NCI Building Systems Inc. (NCS: Quote) Wednesday reported a loss for the third quarter that narrowed from a year ago, due mainly to the absence of a one-time preferred stock-related charge incurred last year.

While sales were up 6 percent year-over-year, it was offset by lower margins and volumes, with pricing under pressure. Sales for the quarter missed Wall Street estimates.

The company also reported only a modest increase in backlog, in a period marked by softness in low-rise nonresidential construction starts.

Investors were not overly impressed with the results, sending shares of the company down 16 percent in after-hours trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

A lack of pick-up in demand for nonresidential construction and project delays owing to absence of robust economic momentum put pressure on volumes, said CEO Norman Chambers.

NCI Building Systems makes metal products for the nonresidential construction industry.

The Houston, Texas-based company posted quarterly net loss to stockholders of $12 million or $0.19 per share, compared with a net loss of $52 million or $2.74 per share last year.

Results for the prior-year quarter included a non-cash convertible preferred stock amendment charge of about $49 million related to the elimination of the company's quarterly dividend on such shares.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $1 million or $0.02 per share, compared with $0.9 million or $0.05 per share a year ago.

On average, four analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a loss of $0.03 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Sales for the quarter climbed to $317 million from $298.5 million a year ago, due mainly to the contribution from the June 2012 Metl-Span acquisition. Analysts estimated sales of $351.43 million for the quarter.

Component sales to the commercial and industrial markets and coating groups fared well, offset by weakness in the agricultural market and buildings group.

Results were impacted by gross margin which shrunk to 21.1 percent from 22 percent in the prior year, due to pricing pressure and higher manufacturing costs. There were also ramp-up costs at the Middletown, Ohio coating and Mattoon, Illinois insulated metal panel facilities.

Engineering, selling, general and administrative expenses were higher at $62.8 million, compared with $55.6 million last year, due to the acquisition effect of Metl-Span and investments in strategic initiatives.

Quarter-end backlog, adjusted to include Metl-Span, was up slightly at $319 million, compared with $311.7 million last year.

The company's stock closed Wednesday at $11.98, up $0.09 or 0.80%, on a volume of 167 thousand shares. In after hours, the stock dropped $1.98 or 16.56%, trading at $10.00. In the last 52-week period, the stock trended in the range of $9.80 - $17.85.

by RTT Staff Writer

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