ExOne (NASDAQ:XONE) will release its quarterly report on Wednesday, and, after soaring since its February IPO, the company's shares succumbed to a brief correction a couple months ago before turning upward again. As the company tries to catch up with first-movers Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS) and 3D Systems (NYSE:DDD), can it match the growth rates that its bigger peers are posting?

ExOne's S-Max printer. Source: ExOne.

Much of the interest in 3-D printing has come from potential consumer applications, with the ability to make relatively simple objects at home. Both Stratasys and 3D Systems have battled against each other in making low-priced 3-D printers for home and small business use. ExOne, on the other hand, has focused on the high end of the industrial market. Its large-scale 3-D printers allow users to create objects using a wider array of materials, including metal and sand. Will ExOne be able to take advantage of rising demand to take its place among the industry's elite players? Let's take an early look at what's been happening with ExOne over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its report.

Stats on ExOne

Analyst EPS Estimate


Previous Quarter's Earnings


Revenue Estimate

$11.81 million

Change From Previous Quarter's Revenue


Earnings Beats in Past Four Quarters


Source: Yahoo! Finance. * In three quarters since going public.

Can ExOne earnings finally live up to the hype?
In recent months, analysts have become less enthusiastic about ExOne's earnings prospects, cutting their third-quarter projections by almost 80% and reducing 2014 expectations by about a quarter. The stock has been volatile, falling 12% since early August with much larger swings in the interim.

ExOne came into the quarter on a disappointing note, reporting second-quarter results that sent the stock sharply lower. Even though ExOne managed to almost double revenue from the year-ago quarter, narrowing its loss by more than two thirds, the company guided its full-year sales to the lower end of its previous expectations. Yet the fundamentals of ExOne's business appeared to be sound, despite high valuations that made investors wary of anything short of perfection in the results.

Another part of the challenge that ExOne stock faced during the quarter was self-inflicted, as the company chose to issue a secondary stock offering of around 2.6 million shares. That hardly sets ExOne apart, given that Stratasys did exactly the same thing with a dilutive measure of its own, following up on 3D Systems' own move in May to raise about $250 million in capital through the sale of its stock. But the fact that more than half of ExOne's offering represented insider selling rather than the company itself raising funds rubbed many investors and analysts the wrong way.

Investors shouldn't downplay the competitive threats that ExOne faces. In addition to Stratasys and 3D Systems, ExOne also has to deal with the newly public voxeljet and a number of other companies aiming at various areas of the industrial market. Even Hewlett-Packard said recently that it intended to move into 3-D printing, and as success multiplies among 3-D-printing companies you can expect other large companies to seek their fair share of the rapidly growing industry.

In the ExOne earnings report, look closely to see if the company can live up to investors' expectations this time around. With shares having rebounded on the hope that it will get back on the high-growth track, ExOne needs to execute in order to keep shareholders happy.

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