NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Shares of Badger Meter (BMI - Get Report) fell on light volume in Monday's after-hours session after the Milwaukee-based maker of water and gas meter products posted disappointing quarterly results with profits held back by weak orders, high copper prices and an unfavorable product mix.
The company reported earnings of $3.3 million, or 22 cents a share, for the three months ended March 31 on sales of $57.4 million, down from a year-ago equivalent profit of $5.4 million, or 36 cents a share, on revenue of $61.8 million, and well below the average estimate of analysts polled by
Thomson Reuters for a profit of 43 cents a share in the March quarter on revenue of $68.2 million.
"We are seeing a slowing of the decision-making process in the municipal water market as discussions about potential spending cutbacks continue at the local, state and federal levels, and we believe some customers are waiting for the release of the new Badger ORION SE two-way fixed network system," said Richard Meeusen, the company's chairman, president and CEO, in a statement.
Meeusen added: "The severe winter in the Midwest and Northeast also impacted our sales. Municipal budgets were strained by snow removal costs and meter installations declined as manpower was shifted to plowing operations. Other factors affecting first quarter sales included the continued lag in housing starts and tightness in the municipal bond market."The stock was last quoted at $33.61, down 11.2%, with roughly 10,000 shares changing hands, according to Nasdaq.com. Based on Monday's regular-session closing price of $37.85, the shares are down more than 12% since the start of 2011. The action in extended trading pushed the stock below its 52-week low of $36.44 on March 15. Wall Street was already skeptical about the company ahead of the report with nine of the 10 analysts covering the stock at hold. Badger Meter did sound a note of optimism about the current quarter, however. "While we are disappointed with the slowdown in the municipal water market, we believe this is a temporary occurrence that will improve as the year progresses," said Meeusen. "We are seeing a strengthening of orders and margins as we move into the second quarter which we hope will continue."