Los Angeles Business Journal

AeroVironment’s Profit Surges

By Deborah Crowe Tuesday, December 6, 2011

AeroVironment Inc.’s earnings soared in its fiscal second quarter as the maker of military drones and electric car-charging technology saw strong growth in both business units.

After the markets closed on Tuesday, the Monrovia company reported net income of $6.6 million (30 cents a share) for the quarter ended Oct. 29, compared with $262,000 (1 cent) in the same period a year earlier, when the bottom line was hurt by higher development expenses for new products.

Revenue rose 26 percent to $80.4 million, with most of the growth coming from $13.3 million more sales in its unmanned aircraft systems segment, which sells primarily to the U.S. military, and $3.3 million from its efficient-energy systems unit.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected profit of 20 cents a share on revenue of 74.5 million.

At the end of the quarter, the company had an order backlog of more than $116 million, 60 percent higher than a year earlier. For the fiscal third quarter, the company expects revenue of $80 million to $90 million, and earnings of 35 cents to 45 cents a share. The Wall Street consensus is at the high end of that range, with profit of 45 cents on revenue of $88.8 million.

“Even with the funding uncertainty affecting U.S. government procurement today, I am excited about AeroVironment's value proposition and our long-term growth prospects,” said Chief Executive Tim Conver in a statement.

Shares earlier closed down 7 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $31.88 on the Nasdaq and rose 2 percent in after-hours trading.