Image source: IPG Photonics.

Shares of IPG Photonics (IPGP 2.30%) traded modestly higher this morning, following the release of IPG's fourth-quarter results.

The maker of high-powered fiber lasers grew GAAP earnings 4% year over year, landing at $0.70 per share. Revenue jumped 14% to $166 million.

Analysts expected earnings of $0.75 per share on $163 million in sales, so IPG Photonics beat the top-end estimates while whiffing on the bottom line. The strong revenue rests on high demand for IPG's bread-and-butter cutting and welding lasers.

Earnings were limited by negative foreign exchange effects and a $6 million inventory charge. The inventory writedown was related to unsold lasers for telecom-grade communications equipment, as well as product line adjustments regarding the acquisition of Mobius Photonics in March 2013. The telecom market was characterized as very lumpy, with this quarter falling in a period of slow telecom orders.

Looking ahead, CEO Valentin Gapontsev noted that the current book-to-bill sits above 1.0, which points to strong revenue visibility. The backlog of unfilled orders currently stands at $265 million, a 31% year-over-year increase.

First-quarter sales should come in between $160 million and $175 million, yielding an earnings range from $0.69 to $0.83 per share, the company says. The current Street estimates sit near the middle of these ranges.

"Fiber laser technology continues to gain adoption over traditional laser technologies and non-laser technologies," Gapontsev said in a prepared statement. "The continued market penetration and acceptance of our existing products and new product introductions give us confidence in our opportunities to grow revenues, improve margins, and enter into new applications."