IFE install growth helps Astronics achieve robust fiscal 3Q

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Increased installations of in-flight entertainment (IFE) and in-seat power systems by commercial airlines is being cited by Astronics as a driver behind its rise in earnings for the fiscal third quarter, and an improvement in its 2010 aerospace sales forecast.

For the three months ended 2 October the cabin electronics and lighting specialist saw net profit rise by 86% year-over-year to $4.6 million on a 2.7% rise in sales to $49.9 million.

Aerospace sales, which represented 92% of total sales in the fiscal third quarter, increased 18.1% to $46 million. Test systems sales declined by $5.7 million to $3.9 million when compared with the same period last year.

"This was an excellent quarter for us as sales, profits and bookings for the quarter were near record highs. Our strong product positions and market diversity continue to serve us well in this challenging economy," says Astronics president and CEO Peter Gundermann.

The company notes it is seeing increased demand for IFE and in-seat power system installations, which bodes well for its cabin electronics products.

"Year to date, the sales increase in the commercial transport market reflected increased volume related to the gradual strengthening in 2010 of the commercial airline market," says Astronics.

At 2 October, Astronics' cash balance was $22.1 million and backlog stood at $110.0 million. About $47 million worth of backlog is expected to ship by the end of 2010 and approximately $99 million, or 90%, of backlog is expected to ship in the next 12 months.

"We expect our 2010 annual sales to be in the range of $192 million to $195 million, and most likely at the top end of that range. We expect aerospace sales of approximately $176 million to $178 million, up from our previous estimate of $165 million to $170 million, and test systems sales of approximately $16 million to $17 million, down from $20 to $25 million," says Gundermann.