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Astronics Corp. first-quarter profits rise by 8% but fall short of analyst forecasts

Stronger sales that helped its test systems business become profitable again contributed to a nearly 8 percent increase in Astronics Corp.’s first-quarter profits, the East Aurora aerospace company said this week.

The earnings, however, fell short of analyst forecasts, as Astronics’ much larger cabin electronics and aircraft lighting business was hurt by weakening sales and declining profits. Astronics shares closed Thursday at $33.71, up by 77 cents, or 2.34 percent.

Astronics said that in the first quarter, it earned $11.5 million, or 44 cents per share, compared with $10.7 million, or 41 cents per share, a year ago. The earnings were well below the 51 cents per share that analysts expected.

The company’s sales fell by 1 percent, to $159.5 million, from $161.6 million, well under the $167.8 million that analysts forecast. All of the decline was due to a 3 percent drop in revenues at its aerospace products business, which accounts for 87 percent of Astronics’ total sales. A 7 percent increase in sales of its in-seat power products was offset by a $10 million decline in revenues from satellite antenna systems. That caused operating profits at the aerospace unit to fall by 20 percent.

“The first quarter was a decent start to the year for Astronics, although we had some challenges with our avionics product line,” Peter J. Gundermann, the company’s president and CEO, said in a statement. “We expect to improve our Avionics situation going forward, especially in the second half of the year, and we believe we are well-positioned for the remainder of 2016.”

The company narrowed its revenue guidance for the full year to between $665 million and $710 million, which is in line with analyst forecasts of $686 million.