Earnings at

Flextronics

(FLEX) - Get Report

more than quadrupled in its fiscal fourth quarter, as sharply reduced restructuring costs outweighed slumping sales that missed analysts' estimates. The company also issued worse-than-expected guidance.

Investors largely seemed to shrug off the dim outlook, as the company's stock traded down only slightly following its report. In recent after-hours exchanges, Flextronics shares were off 15 cents, or 1.4%, to $10.49.

The contract manufacturing giant earned $74.2 million, or 12 cents a share, of the just-completed quarter, up from $16 million, or 3 cents a share, in the fourth quarter a year earlier. But the company's sales fell 4% to $3.61 billion.

Much of the profit improvement came from reduced restructuring expenses. The company recorded $7.61 million in such costs in the just-completed quarter, compared with $75.56 million in the year-ago period.

Excluding restructuring, amortization and other costs, Flextronics would have earned $95.3 million, or 16 cents a share, compared with $72.84 million, or 13 cents a share, a year earlier.

The consensus of analysts polled by Thomson First Call was a profit of 16 cents a share excluding items on $4 billion in sales. The company had

predicted in January that it would earn 15 cents to 18 cents a share in the quarter on this basis on sales ranging from $3.8 billion to $4.2 billion.

In a statement, CEO Michael Marks acknowledged that the company's sales fell short of expectations. But Marks said the company was "pleased" with its ability to boost its gross margins and control expenses in the quarter.

"The gross margin improvement over the past several quarters demonstrates that our many initiatives to enhance returns and profitability are working," he said in the statement.

Still, the company predicted further disappointment for investors in the year ahead, lowering its outlook for its current first quarter.

In the first quarter, Flextronics expects to earn 12 cents to 15 cents a share -- 15 cents to 17 cents a share excluding items -- on sales ranging from $3.7 billion to $3.9 billion. For the full year, the company expects to post a profit of 68 cents to 82 cents a share -- 80 cents to 90 cents a share excluding items -- on revenue of $17 billion to $17.5 billion.

Previously, the company forecast a pro forma profit of 17 cents to 20 cents a share on revenue ranging from $4.1 billion to $4.5 billion in its first quarter.

Analysts were predicting earnings excluding items of 18 cents a share on $4.32 billion in sales in the current quarter and 68 cents a share in pro forma profit on $19.03 billion in revenue in the company's fiscal full year.

Shares of Flextronics closed regular trading off 30 cents, or 2.7%, to $10.64.