This just in from the world of earnings reports: Inconsistent earner and Motley Fool Rule Breakers recommendation American Science & Engineering
After several quarters of relatively weak actual performance, but beaucoup backlog growth promising future riches, the company finally began delivering yesterday. Revenues for the fiscal second quarter 2009 leapt around 50% in comparison to last year's Q2. Profits per diluted share grew an astounding 73%, boosted by a Q2 operating profit margin that verged on 20% -- better than rivals L-3
More amazing still -- AS&E's growth shows no signs of slowing. New bookings in the fiscal second quarter increased 68% to $93.5 million. That's enough to replace all the monies booked as revenue in the quarter just past. In other words, this latest growth spurt is just getting started.
Needless to say, CEO Anthony Fabiano was "very pleased with our financial and operating results." But as Mr. Market never fails to ask: "Nice work. But what are you going to do tomorrow?"
On the subject of AS&E's future, Fabiano opined: "AS&E's proprietary Z Backscatter continues to achieve market recognition as a premier technology to detect explosives, drugs and other contraband Moreover, our Field Service business reported record bookings, reflecting our increased installed base ..." In other words, the company is developing a reliable stream of recurring services revenue based on ZBV units (and other security apparatus) already sold, and is also continuing to build out that base.
Caveats, quibbles, and kudos
I've got precious few of these, actually. First and foremost, Foolish investors should note that at the halfway mark, free cash flow this year still lags the GAAP numbers AS&E is putting up. It amounted to just $7.6 million, versus $10 million in net profit. However, while "accounting earnings" are down slightly year over year in the first six months, by this time last year, AS&E was still burning free cash flow. So relatively speaking, even $7.6 million in positive free cash flow is good news.
And finally, let's not forget that in the past, AS&E was slow in providing cash flow news with its earnings press releases. This week marks another quarter that AS&E has provided shareholders a cash flow statement as part of its earnings report. Yours Fool-y, for one, applauds the firm's continuing this shareholder-friendly trend.
Further Foolish insight into AS&E can be found at: