Esterline Technologies ( ESL) reported on December 11, 2008, that its fourth-quarter fiscal 2008 earnings more than doubled to $43.88 million from $20.89 million in the prior year's quarter, bolstered by a strengthening U.S. dollar.

On a per share basis, net earnings stood at $1.46 per share compared to $0.78 per share a year ago. The latest quarterly earnings beat the most recent consensus estimate of $1.05 per share. Looking forward to fiscal 2009, the company expects earnings to be in the range of $3.70 per share to $3.90 per share.

During the quarter under review, net sales surged 13.7% to $404.35 million from $355.70 million in the comparable quarter of the last year, driven by strong revenue growth across segments. Esterline's gross profit margin improved 292 basis points to 34.71% from 31.80% during fourth-quarter 2007, as higher revenue offset an 8.8% increase in cost of sales. Similarly, operating margin improved 519 basis points to 14.96% from 9.78%. Backlog at the end of FY08 was $1.10 billion, an increase of 14.0% over last year.

Revenue during FY08 swelled 22.9% to $1.48 billion from $1.21 billion in the previous year. Net profit for the year mounted 30.6% to $120.53 million or $4.03 per share compared to $92.28 million or $3.52 per share in FY07. Recently, the company agreed to acquire NMC Group (Nylon Molding Corporation) for approximately $90.00 million.

Revenue from avionics and controls soared 14.4% to $173.46 million from $151.61 million while sensors and systems' increased 6.7% to $89.99 million from $84.36 million a year ago. Revenue from advanced materials jumped 17.7% to $140.90 million from $119.72 million in the last year's quarter. Total backlog at the end of the quarter stood at $469.40 million, up 31.0% year-over-year.

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