Narrower-than-Expected Loss at Maxwell

Zacks

Maxwell Technologies, Inc. (MXWL) posted fourth quarter 2013 loss of 5 cents per share, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of 6 cents. However, the company had generated earnings of 12 cents in the year-ago period. The weak performance reflects lower sales during the quarter.

In 2013, Maxwell reported earnings of 36 cents per share, flat with the year ago profit level. The year-end result was 38.5% up from the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a profit of 26 cents.

Revenue

In fourth quarter 2013, the company’s total revenue came in at $39.0 million down 12.3% from the year-earlier number of $44.5 million but 8.3% above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $36.0 million.

In 2013, operating revenue was $193.5 million, up 21.5% from $159.3 million in 2012. In 2013, the company’s product backlog increased 44.1% year over year to $28.1 million.

Quarterly Operating Highlights

Ultracapacitor revenue in the fourth quarter was $26.3 million, down almost 11.0% year over year, while revenue from high voltage capacitor and microelectronics products was $12.7 million, down 16.0% year over year.

Operating expenses incurred during fourth quarter 2013 were $15.9 million, up 17.8% to $13.5 million as compared to year-ago figure.

On a GAAP basis, operating expenses incurred during the quarter were $16.9 million, up 21.6% year over year due to an increase in selling, general and administrative expenses (up 38.6%), and offset by low research and development expenses (down 1.1%).

Financial Highlights

Cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2013 were $30.6 million versus $28.7 million at the end of Dec 2012. Long-term debt was $0.1 million versus $0.083 million as of Dec 2012.  

Guidance

The company expects total revenue in the first quarter of 2014 to be flat to slightly up compared with the fourth quarter of 2013.

Our Take

Maxwell Technologies continues to be the market leader in the growing ultracapacitor market. In 2013, the Chinese government declared a subsidy policy on all electric buses and plug-in hybrid buses. These buses incorporate ultracapacitor modules and hence qualify for the promised subsidies.

As a result, Maxwell Technologies expects sales of several thousand ultracapacitor modules in 2014 driven by high plug-in hybrid demand.

However, the company’s dependency on third parties for manufacturing and logistics operations, foreign currency risks and licensing law hurdles keep us concerned. The company presently holds a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Stocks to look out for in the space are CTS Corp. (CTS), Active Power Inc. (ACPW) and KEMET Corp. (KEM). While CTS holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Active Power and KEMET carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

Read the Full Research Report on MXWL
Read the Full Research Report on CTS
Read the Full Research Report on ACPW
Read the Full Research Report on KEM


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