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Tuesday, Jan 31, 2023

Aerospace Company Doesn’t Pay for Overbilling

A spoonful of profit helped Ducommun Inc. shareholders swallow some bad news, with solid earnings more than offsetting the aerospace manufacturer’s announcement that now-former employees had overbilled a customer.

After twice delaying the release of its full-year and fourth-quarter earnings, the Carson company April 10 announced a sharp growth in profits for the year, more cash in the coffers, less debt and the possibility of a refinancing deal that could offer big savings.

For investors, that more than made up for the bad news announced by Ducommun the same day: It had discovered two types of internal financial errors, including overbilling; fired some employees; and restated earnings for the past several years, hence the delayed earnings.

Mike Crawford, an analyst with West L.A. brokerage B. Riley & Co. who follows the company, said Ducommun shouldn’t see many long-term effects from the accounting problems.

“Of primary importance here, we believe, is that customer relations are unaffected, and Ducommun completed its financials restatement in relatively short order,” Crawford said.

Investors seemed to agree: Ducommon shares surged 16 percent for the week ended April 15, closing at $32.04, with much of the gain coming after the earnings announcement. The company was one of the biggest gainers on the LABJ Stock Index. (See page 44.)

Though delayed, it turns out Ducommun’s earnings were worth waiting for. The company’s net income grew to $19.9 million, or $1.79 a share, last year. That was an increase of about 75 percent over 2013’s net income, beating estimates of Wall Street analysts, who had expected earnings of $1.48 a share.

The company also beat fourth-quarter expectations, with earnings of 46 cents a share, compared with analysts’ estimates of 28 cents.

There could be more good news down the line for Ducommun investors, too.

Joseph Bellino, the company’s chief financial officer, said it is considering refinancing some of its roughly $290 million debt this summer, which could cut Ducommun’s interest rate from 8 percent to less than 6 percent, providing additional savings and potentially boosting profits.

“We would go to market if market conditions are stable and they are right now,” Bellino said. “It’s a very favorable time for us.”

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