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Ceradyne Sees Strong Sales

The body armor company guides up for the fourth quarter.
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surged 10% Tuesday after posting stronger-than-expected fourth-quarter sales.

The Costa Mesa, Calif., body armor maker said it expects to post sales of $82 million for the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31. That's up 148% from a year earlier and well above the $76.3 million Wall Street estimate quoted by Thomson First Call. The company said quarterly orders more than doubled to $145 million, and year-end backlog surged 92% to $200 million.

"The unusually high new-order inflow and record backlog give us confidence that 2005 will be another record year in sales and earnings," CEO Joel Moskowitz said. "Although Ceradyne's lightweight ceramic armor accounts for approximately 63% of our backlog, we expect that projected increases in our non-defense advanced technical ceramic products, coupled with a full contribution in 2005 from the company's August 2004 acquisition of the German technical ceramic company, ESK Ceramics, will result in somewhat less reliance on defense products."

Early Tuesday, shares in Ceradyne -- which more than doubled off their lows last year during a big rally in defense-related stocks -- rose $3 to $31.31.