Investors were hoping executives would raise their financial outlook, as they did twice in 2013.
Thanks to a recent acquisition, Stratasys Ltd. posted a 55 percent jump in first-quarter revenue, which helped the 3-D printer manufacturer achieve a $4.1 million profit that reversed a year-ago loss.
Sales of $151 million for the quarter exceeded Wall Street’s expectations by nearly $7 million. The Eden Prairie-based maker of 3-D printing machines and plastic components said its revenue would have grown 33 percent without last year’s acquisition of MakerBot, which produces such devices for small businesses and consumers.
While sales exceeded predictions and profits met analysts’ expectations, the company’s shares still fell 4.7 percent Friday to close at $89.90. That’s 35 percent off the all-time high reached early this year.
The decline came as investors became disappointed that the company didn’t raise its previously-stated forecast for 2014. Its executives raised their outlook when issuing results for both the second and third quarters last year.
This time, Stratasys executives simply reiterated that full-year 2014 sales are expected to reach $660 million to $680 million.
Excluding one-time items, adjusted earnings are expected to reach $113 million to $119 million, or $2.15 to $2.25 a share.
Stratasys has aggressively expanded its MakerBot reach by opening new stores and school partnerships where students, entrepreneurs and artists can come in and use the hot new technology that prints 3-dimensional plastic objects in a way that is similar to how an inkjet printer lays down ink on paper. Instead of ink, a 3-D printer dispenses thousands of layers of liquid plastic that dry and harden into the desired shape.
In addition to MakerBot, officials credited much of the company’s first-quarter growth to its higher-margin businesses, which include making commercial 3-D printers for large manufacturers.
The company also has a RedEye By Stratasys division that manufactures plastic components for industrial customers.
The commercial operations increased sales 33 percent during the quarter “and contributed to a significant increase in our gross margin over last year,” CEO David Reis said in a statement. “In addition, MakerBot product revenue remained strong.”
Reis told analysts during a conference call that Stratasys produced other highlights during the quarter, such as announcing the acquisitions of two 3-D printing companies and an increase in orders for 3-D printed products that are made of several different types of materials.
Stratasys also completed integrating the research, development and operations stemming from Stratasys’ December 2012 merger with 3-D printer maker Objet Ltd. in Rehovot, Israel.
Dee DePass • 612-673-7725