Apogee swings to a profit but sees tougher road ahead

  • Article by: SUSAN FEYDER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: April 12, 2012 - 9:03 PM

The company reported solid gains in its architectural glass segment.

Apogee Enterprises Inc. delivered on its promise to post a year-end profit, but its stock fell 3 percent Thursday after the company forecast lower-than-expected earnings for the coming year.

The Bloomington-based company, which generates most of its sales from architectural glass, has been battling the depressed commercial construction market for several quarters. Operating income of $4.7 million for the year ended March 3 marked a rebound from the previous year's loss of $21 million. Revenue increased 14 percent to $662.5 million.

The company reported its results after the stock market closed Wednesday.

Wall Street reacted negatively to the company earnings-per-share forecast of 40 cent to 50 cents for the coming year. That's less than the 59 cents that had been estimated by analysts. The stock closed Thursday at $13.30, down 3.2 percent.

In a research note, Eric Stine, an analyst at Northland Capital Markets in Minneapolis, said he believes the company is being conservative. He noted that Apogee is assuming flat to negative overall market conditions.

A solid improvement in Apogee's architectural glass business helped push fourth-quarter profit above analysts' estimates. Operating income for the period totaled $2.8 million vs, a loss of $5.6 million a year earlier. Earnings per share were 11 cents, a nickel higher than Wall Street's estimates.

Revenue rose 14 percent to $168.7 million.

Architectural segment revenue increased 15 percent, with an operating loss of about $500,000 compared to a loss of $9.9 million a year ago. Large-scale optical segment revenue increased 7 percent, with operating income of $4 million compared with $5.5 million for the same period last year.

"We finished the year strong with another quarter of double-digit revenue growth, significant earnings improvement, very positive cash flow and continued increase in our backlog," CEO Joseph Puishys said.

Susan Feyder • 612-673-1723

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