UPDATE 2-Spartan Motors Q3 misses Wall Street view; shares fall

viernes 26 de octubre de 2007 00:42 CEST

(Recasts, adds analysts' comments, details)

BANGALORE Oct 25 (Reuters) - Automotive chassis maker Spartan Motors Inc (SPAR.O: Cotización) posted lower quarterly results that missed analysts' estimates, as it spent more to ramp up capacity to meet increased orders for armored military trucks, sending its shares down about 17 percent.

The company has been expanding capacity to handle an anticipated increase in orders from the U.S. military's Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicle program, aimed at protecting troops in Iraq from roadside bombs.

Spartan is a sub-contractor to original equipment manufacturers including General Dynamics Corp (GD.N: Cotización), BAE Systems Plc (BAES.L: Cotización) and Force Protection Inc (FRPT.O: Cotización), which supply military vehicles.

Third-quarter earnings dropped to $2.6 million, or 8 cents per share, from $4.1 million, or 13 cents per share a year ago. Analysts on average had expected 23 cents a share, before special items, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales rose 37 percent to $148.9 million, but were significantly below market expectations of $178.8 million.

There was general disappointment as the company's revenue growth fell significantly short of analysts' expectations, The Robins Group analyst Frank Magdlen said by phone.

However, Magdlen said the capacity expansion -- Spartan expanded production capacity by about 170 percent -- would help the company get more of the MRAP orders going forward.

The U.S. Department of Defence has given out orders for only about half of the 15,000 vehicles sought under the program and significant orders are expected to be rolled out in the next three months, Magdlen added.   Continuación...