Air Express Warns of Fourth-Quarter Shortfall

Also, warnings from Alliance, Cheesecake Factory and ESC Medical, and Rockwell heads for the heartland.
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Air Express

(AEIC)

said it expects fourth-quarter earnings of 28 cents to 31 cents a share, 20% to 25% below the year-ago figure. The 10-analyst

First Call

view called for 40 cents this quarter vs. the year-ago 38 cents. The company attributed the anticipated decline to an "unexpected further deterioration of airfreight export revenues for the U.S. and the U.K."

In other postclose news (earnings estimates from First Call; earnings reported on a diluted basis unless otherwise specified):

Earnings/revenue reports and previews

Alliance

(ALLY) - Get Report

said it sees its second-quarter results falling to a loss of 29 cents to 33 cents a share -- below the four-analyst call for a loss of 4 cents. In the year-ago period, the company earned 2 cents. The company said it will return to profitability in the next two quarters.

Cheesecake Factory

(CAKE) - Get Report

said it expects to report fourth-quarter earnings of 14 cents to 16 cents a share compared with the year-ago 24 cents. The 10-analyst forecast called for 21 cents. The company attributed the expected shortfall to start-up costs and temporary labor inefficiencies related to an increase in bakery sales, a greater-than-expected seasonal shift in the mix of bakery sales to lower margin products, and volatility in costs for certain bakery-related commodities, mostly cream cheese and manufacturing cream.

Cox Communications

(COX)

said it sees a 11% to 14% jump in revenue growth for 1999.

ESC Medical Systems

(ESCMF)

said it expects to report fourth-quarter revenue of $50 million but will report an operating profit for the period. The six-analyst projection called for 29 cents a share vs. the year-ago 45 cents. The company attributed its revenue shortfall to a shift in purchasing patterns among customers of its aesthetics products.

H.B. Fuller

(FULL)

posted fourth-quarter earnings of 85 cents a share, topping the seven-analyst view by 3 cents and exceeding the year-ago 90 cents.

Interlink Computer Sciences

(INLK)

estimated an operating loss of $1.9 million on revenue of about $7.2 million for the second quarter compared with a $2 million loss on revenue of $6.7 million a year ago. The company, which did not provide per-share figures, said its estimates are below analysts' expectations due to the slow closure rate of license revenue in its traditional product lines.

International Specialty Products

(ISP)

said it sees fourth-quarter earnings coming in at 13 cents to 15 cents a share. The four-analyst outlook called for 26 cents compared with the year-ago 27 cents. The company cited lower investment income and softer markets in the Asia-Pacific region for two of its products, butanediol and tetrahydrofuran.

Lennar

(LEN) - Get Report

posted fourth-quarter earnings of $1.06 a share, blasting the seven-analyst forecast for 87 cents and the year-ago 55 cents.

M/A/R/C

(MARC)

said it sees a fourth-quarter loss of 10 cents to 12 cents a share. The three-analyst estimate called for earnings of a dime vs. the year-ago profit of 24 cents. The company blamed the news on losses in its research business and increased operating expenses in its Targetbase Marketing business.

MSC Industrial

(MSM) - Get Report

reported first-quarter earnings of 18 cents a share, in line with the nine-analyst outlook and 4 cents above the year-earlier figure.

Mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures

HCC Insurance

(HCC) - Get Report

offered a bid of $13.25 a share for

Centris

(CGE)

.

Miscellany

Northrop Grumman

(NOC) - Get Report

said it received a $23.6 million contract from the

Navy

to provide aerial targets and launch kits.

Rockwell

(ROK) - Get Report

announced it will move its corporate headquarters to the Midwest -- possibly Chicago or Milwaukee -- from Costa Mesa, Calif., following the spinoff its California-based semiconductor unit. The company said the move will have no impact on its projected 1999 earnings of $2.90 to $3 a share. The 12-analyst view calls for $2.83.

Unifi

(UFI) - Get Report

said President and Chief Executive William T. Kretzer will retire Feb. 1. The company named G. Allen Mebane, chairman and a founder, as a replacement.