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Astronics stock tumbles after 'disappointing' earnings

Astronics CEO Peter J. Gundermann admits that the East Aurora aircraft lighting and electronics maker's third quarter was "obviously disappointing," but he still thinks the company is in a good position to start growing again next year.

"Third-quarter results were obviously disappointing," Gundermann said as Astronics reported a 51 percent drop in its third-quarter earnings and a 23 percent slide in its sales.

Astronics shareholders were disappointed, too. The company's shares tumbled by 15 percent, or $5.77, to $31.86 in early morning trading.

"Despite the apparent weakness in our third-quarter results, we do not see any major changes in our markets that impact our solid, long-term outlook," he said Tuesday. "We believe the results are more due to timing and circumstances, rather than any fundamental changes in our markets" or the appeal of its products.

Most of the third quarter decline came from weaker sales of its satellite antenna systems, along with lower demand for its in-flight entertainment and cabin management systems for luxury private jets. The company's sales of in-seat power products for commercial jets also fell.

As a result, Astronics' earnings fell to $12.1 million, or 41 cents per share, from $24.7 million, or 82 cents per share, a year ago, falling short of analyst forecasts of 49 cents per share.

Astronics' sales fell to $155.1 million from $200.1 million a year earlier, as aerospace revenues dropped by 10 percent and sales from its test systems business declined by 51 percent as work ended on a major Apple contract.

The weak third quarter prompted Astronics to lower its sales forecast for this year to between $635 million and $645 million, which would be a drop of about 6 percent from $692 million last year.

But Gundermann also said he expects the company's aerospace sales, which are down by 2 percent through the first three quarters, to rebound next year, growing "in the mid-single digit range." He also said Astronics expects "improvements" in its long-struggling test systems business.


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