November 2, 2007 / 7:59 PM / 11 years ago

UPDATE 1-ASV posts lower Q3 profit; '07 view below estimate

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Nov 2 (Reuters) - ASV Inc ASVI.O, a maker of rubber track loaders, reported a lower quarterly profit and forecast full-year results below analysts’ estimate, hurt by the slowdown in the U.S. housing market.

However, shares of the company were trading almost flat as the markets were anticipating weaker results after its largest customer Caterpillar Inc (CAT.N) recently cut its outlook and sounded an alarm about the outlook for the wider U.S. economy.

“Market conditions for ASV remain difficult given its exposure to the U.S. housing and light non-residential construction markets. We expect these conditions to continue into 2008,” Jefferies & Co analyst Yvonne Varano said in an email.

ASV said net earnings in the third-quarter fell to $3.5 million, or 13 cents a share, from $5.1 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier. Net sales declined 11 percent to $56.3 million, from $63.0 million.

Analysts on average were expecting a profit of 19 cents a share, before special items, on revenue of $61.8 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Sales at the company’s machines segment, which amounted to 42 percent of net sales, fell to $23.7 million in the latest quarter, from $35.2 million last year, the company said.

However, ASV’s undercarriage sales rose 24 percent to $17.3 million in the latest quarter from $14.0 million a year earlier as Caterpillar introduced new products in the second quarter and raised production for its undercarriage products, ASV said.

The company also forecast 2007 earnings of 41 cents to 47 cents a share and sales of $200 million to $210 million. Analysts were expecting full year profit of 55 cents a share, on revenue of $212.3 million.

Chief Executive Dick Benson said the weakness in the U.S. housing market was expected to continue for the rest of 2007.

ASV shares fell 4 cents to $11.01 in afternoon trade on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Anant Vijay Kala in Bangalore)

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