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Friday, Oct 7, 2022

Shaky Second Quarter Weakens Defense Contractor

The dog days of August took a bite out of Carson’s Ducommun Inc.

The aerospace and defense industry parts supplier saw its stock start the month above $22, about where shares had been trading for most of the past year, then watched as the price nose-dived, hitting new 52-week lows in each of the past four weeks.

Last week, Ducommun stock hit $15.58 before regaining some ground and closing Aug. 31 at $18.56. The early part of the sell-off coincided with the market bloodletting that followed early August’s debt and deficit crisis in Washington, D.C.

But the stock’s poor performance wasn’t helped by the Aug. 8 release of Ducommun’s second quarter results, which showed a net loss of $3 million or 28 cents per share. The company attributes that loss to one-time costs associated with acquiring of St. Louis-based LaBarge Inc., another aerospace parts supplier.

Jeremy Devaney, who follows Ducommun as a vice president and senior equity analyst for BB&T Capital Markets in Richmond, Va., said the loss might have spooked investors.

“The quarterly results took a little bit of time to digest,” he said. “It wasn’t really a quarterly loss. It was a one-time charge. On a continuing basis, their results were fairly decent.”

Excluding the cost of the LaBarge acquisition, Ducommon reported it would have made $4.8 million in the second quarter, down about 15 percent from the same period last year.

Joseph Bellino, Ducommun’s chief financial officer, said the second quarter earnings include only about $1 million in revenue from LaBarge and that much more revenue should come in the third quarter, though the company doesn’t expect the acquisition to be accretive to net income until next year.

LaBarge had sales of $289 million in its last full fiscal year. That’s about 70 percent of Ducommun’s sales last year, making it a big acquisition for Ducommun.

Bellino called the deal, which closed June 28, “a bold but prudent step” – prudent because it will add to the company’s capabilities, bold because it was a huge acquisition that required Ducommun to take on more than $300 million in debt.

The company reported $21.6 million in debt at the close of the first quarter compared with $391 million in the second. However, Devaney said the increase is manageable.

“We’re happy to see Ducommun take advantage of their balance sheet and their strong cash flow,” he said.

The analyst added that while the defense market has been volatile, Ducommun has plenty of civilian projects, including supplying parts for Chicago-based Boeing Co.’s commercial jets.

“In a market where the future for them is going to be propelled by the commercial business and by programs added by LaBarge, the prospects look really good for them going forward,” he said.


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