NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- One of 2015's biggest stock disappointments has been 3-D printing company Stratasys (SSYS) - Get Report. Its shares, trading around $36, have plummeted about 57% on the year and 65% in the past 12 months.
There are some who want to remain upbeat about the prospects of the 3-D printing industry. However, Stratysys' rivals are also falling -- 3D Systems (DDD) - Get Report is down 55% for the year to date while and ExOne (XONE) - Get Report is down 45% in 2015. All are heading in the wrong direction.
The only investors making tons of money are the short-sellers who placed bets on the industry's failure.
Stratysis, Eden Prairie, Minn., reports second-quarter earnings results Thursday before the opening bell. There's no light at the end of this tunnel.
For the quarter, analysts, on average, expect earnings per share of 15 cents a share on revenue of $182 million, translating to a 72% year-over-year EPS decline. Revenue is projected to be up only 2%. For the full year, ending in September, analysts expect $1.34 a share, or a 33% year-over-year decline, while revenue of $816 million is projected to climb 9% year over year.
The projected quarterly and full-year profit declines reflects the struggles the company has faced to grow its business. In the first quarter, for instance, the company delivered product revenue of $126.7 million. While that grew 2% year over year, it reflects a significant slowdown from the year-ago quarter's growth rate of 25%.
Even in areas that appear to be good news, like the 112% year-over-year growth in services revenue, that was mostly driven by acquisitions. Very little of that growth was organic, or the type driven by internal operational improvements. And even then, the 112% growth marked a sequential slowdown of 29 percentage points from the prior-quarter's services revenue growth of 141%.
But what continues to stand out from this business -- underscoring how weak Stratasys' market position has gotten -- is the struggles in the company's gross margins (non-GAAP), which fell two percentage points from the fourth quarter's 56% gross margin to 54.1% in the first quarter. And on a year-over-year basis, the decline is much worse, falling more than six percentage points from 60.7% in the first quarter of 2014.
At the same time, Stratasys' costs are on the rise, surging some 36% year over year in the first quarter. Declining profit margins and rising costs is not a great combination for investors looking for value. This would explain the punishment the stock has taken so far in 2015.
With the company making no promises to curtail spending, don't touch this stock with a 10-foot pole ahead of Thursday's numbers.
This article is commentary by an independent contributor. At the time of publication, the author held no position in the stocks mentioned.