Astronics has raised its revenue guidance for the year after achieving a 53.2% increase in first quarter net profit to $5.2 million and a 17.5% rise in sales to $55.1 million, as demand for in-flight entertainment and in-seat power systems continues unabated.

Consolidated gross margin and operating margin in the three months ended 2 April "improved appreciably over the prior year period "reflecting strong operating leverage in the aerospace segment on higher sales volume", says Astronics.

Sales to the commercial transport market increased during the quarter as a result of the growing number of installations of IFE and in-seat power systems by commercial airlines, which in turn drives demand for Astronics' cabin electronics products.

"Demand was strong across our product lines and, with higher sales, we realized strong operating leverage and resulting strong margins," says Astronics president and CEO Peter Gundermann.

"We continue to see solid opportunities in the market which encourages our optimism for the foreseeable future. We are off to an excellent start for the year, which is shaping up to be a very good one for Astronics."

At 2 April, backlog was $99.1 million, below backlog of $99.8 million at the end of the trailing fourth quarter of 2010, but improved over backlog of $92.8 million at the end of the first quarter of 2010.

"As a result of the strong start to the year, solid bookings rate and feedback from our customers, we have increased our revenue guidance for 2011 to be in the range of $210 million to $225 million from our previous expectation of $205 million to $215 million," says Gundermann.

Astronics anticipates that approximately $190 million to $202 million of projected revenue will be from its aerospace segment, while approximately $20 million to $23 million of projected revenue will be from the test systems segment.

Meanwhile, the Company has agreed on terms to purchase its leased manufacturing facility in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, as well as a new facility in Redmond, Washington. The purchases are expected to close in the second quarter and will cost a total of $10.3 million.

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news