U.S. Markets open in 1 hr 8 mins

AeroVironment's 2Q net income jumps 32 percent

MONROVIA, Calif. (AP) -- Unmanned aircraft manufacturer AeroVironment Inc. said Tuesday its third-quarter net income jumped 32 percent, buoyed by stronger sales at its efficient-energy-systems segment and an increased gross margin.

The results beat Wall Street expectations, sending the Monrovia, Calif., company's shares up more than 12 percent in aftermarket trading.

AeroVironment reported net income of $8.7 million, or 39 cents per share, for the three months ended Oct. 27. That compares with net income of $6.6 million, or 30 cents per share, in the comparable period last year.

Analysts had forecast, on average, earnings of 22 cents per share, according to FactSet.

While sales at the company's efficient energy systems unit increased, they were offset by weaker sales of drone aircraft.

As a result, revenue for the quarter slipped to $80.3 million from $80.4 million. Analysts were expecting $76.7 million.

Despite the lower revenue, AeroVironment's gross margin — the percentage of each dollar in revenue a company actually keeps — increased 16 percent from a year earlier.

The company ended the quarter with a backlog of orders under contract valued at $90.2 million, down from $93.2 million at the end of April.

Management noted that, because of contracting delays on key military programs, revenue in the second half of its fiscal year will be more heavily weighted toward the fourth quarter.

AeroVironment anticipates earnings per share for fiscal 2013 will range from $1.41 to $1.51, on revenue between $348 million and $370 million. Analysts are anticipating full-year earnings of $1.43 per share on $353.6 million in revenue.

Shares in AeroVironment ended regular trading up 18 cents at $20.26. The stock gained $2.24, or 11 percent, to $22.50 in extended trading. Shares are down about 36 percent this year.