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Monday, Apr 15, 2024

Bad Quarter, Bumpy Drop for AeroVironment

The share price of AeroVironment Inc. plummeted by nearly 15 percent the day after it reported fiscal third quarter earnings that included a net loss. The price of shares in the Monrovia unmanned aircraft and electric vehicle charging station manufacturer has since rebounded. The company designs, manufactures and tests it unmanned aircraft in Simi Valley. AeroVironment on March 6 reported a net loss of $828,000 (-4 cents a share) for the quarter ending Jan. 27 compared with a net loss of $2.2 million in the same period a year earlier. Revenue increased by 20 percent to $63.9 million. In a conference call with analysts to discuss the third quarter results, Chief Executive Wahid Nawabi said that it was important to point out that the loss included a one-time expense of $3.1 million, or 13 cents a share, from remeasuring the company’s deferred tax asset and liabilities due to the Federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017. “This means that third quarter earnings per share would have been 9 cents if not for this one-time adverse effect,” Nawabi said. The decline in share price starting in after-hour trading, and on March 7 the price dropped $7.52, or 14.8 percent, to close at $43.01. Since then, the price has gone up again and closed on March 14 at $47.87. Joseph DeNardi, an aerospace industry analyst with Stifel Nicolaus & Co. Inc., said in a research report the after-hours trading decrease came as a surprise to him. But he attributed the loss to what was perceived as a weak backlog for the fiscal third quarter of $124 million as compared to the $127 million backlog in the second quarter. “The bears on (AeroVironment) point to the lack of backlog growth relative to revenue expectations and the (fiscal third quarter) report seemingly supports that,” DiNardi wrote in the report. “But it misses the $45 million Puma order announced (March 6) and a very strong pipeline of opportunities.” AeroVironment announced it received a contract for the Puma small unmanned aircraft from a customer in the Middle East valued at $44.5 million. It is the largest-ever international contract and reflects continued strong demand overseas for its small unmanned aircraft systems, the company said. In the analyst conference call, Nawabi said there are signs of increased demand by the Pentagon for small unmanned aircraft. The fiscal 2019 federal budget includes requests from the Army to purchase 200 Raven systems valued at $46.4 million and $21.7 million for aircraft for the Soldier Borne Sensor program. The Air Force has requested $13.5 million to buy Puma aircraft systems.

Mark Madler
Mark Madler
Mark R. Madler covers aviation & aerospace, manufacturing, technology, automotive & transportation, media & entertainment and the Antelope Valley. He joined the company in February 2006. Madler previously worked as a reporter for the Burbank Leader. Before that, he was a reporter for the City News Bureau of Chicago and several daily newspapers in the suburban Chicago area. He has a bachelor’s of science degree in journalism from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.

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