Oshkosh (NYSE:OSK) shares were surging this morning, up 12% in early trading, after the company reported blockbuster earnings of $1.67 per diluted share -- nearly twice the $0.84 the company earned in the year-ago quarter, and well ahead of analyst estimates of $1.08 per share.

The earnings growth was all the more remarkable given that Oshkosh only grew its consolidated net sales by about 2%, to $2.2 billion. Most of the earnings growth came from improved profitability, as operating profit margins surged to 10.2%, from a 5.8% level last year.

Management attributed the improvement to its "MOVE" project to cut costs and improve the pricing of its products, plus a more favorable product mix. Chief Executive Officer Charles L. Szews noted that Oshkosh's "access equipment segment, in particular, stood out with higher sales and operating income margins reaching more than 16 percent for the quarter." Meanwhile, the firm's defense unit "delivered solid results, despite continued headwinds from reduced U.S. defense spending."

Capping the good news, Oshkosh predicted that pro forma earnings per share for the full year will increase to a range between $3.60 and $3.70 per share.


This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.