It has been about a month since the last earnings report for AMETEK, Inc. (AME - Free Report) . Shares have added about 6.5% in that time frame.
Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is AME due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important drivers.
AMETEK reported first-quarter 2018 adjusted earnings of 78 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 6 cents. The figure increased 30% from the year-ago quarter and 11.4% sequentially.
Net sales increased 15.8% on a year-over-year basis and 2.6% sequentially to $1.17 billion, driven by robust organic growth and strong contribution from acquisitions. The figure also came ahead of Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.12 billion.
AMETEK recorded organic sales growth of 8% in the reported quarter. This was driven by improving orders worth $1.34 billion, which grew 20% on a year-over-year basis.
The company continues to reap benefits from the execution of its four core growth strategies of operational excellence, global market expansion, investments in product development and strategic acquisitions.
Top Line in Detail
AMETEK reports sales in two organized segments — Electronic Instruments Group (EIG) and Electromechanical Group (EMG)
EIG (61.1% of total sales): The company generated $716.4 million of sales in this segment, which was down 3.4% sequentially but up 15.6% from the year-ago quarter. The year-over-year growth in this segment was driven by robust organic sales in this quarter. Moreover, acquisitions of MOCON, Rauland and Arizona Instrument aided the top-line growth.
EMG (38.9% of sales): This segment generated $456.2 million of sales in this quarter, which increased 17.6% on year-over-year basis and 13.6% from the previous quarter. The year-over-year growth was primarily attributed to strong organic sales growth and solid contribution from the acquisition of FMH Aerospace.
For the first quarter, operating margin was 22%, which expanded 40 basis points (bps) from the prior year quarter and came in line on a sequential basis. The year-over-year increase was primarily by robust performance of AMETEK in both the segments, which exhibited operational efficiency in the reported quarter.
EIG contributed 71% to the total operating income and improved 18.1% from the prior year quarter whereas, EMG accounted for 35.2% of the operating income and was up 16.2% year over year.
Selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses were 11.7%, as percentage of sales, which contracted 40 basis points (bps) from the year-ago quarter and 70 bps on a sequential basis.
As of Mar 31, 2018, cash and cash equivalents was $556.8 million, down from $646.3 million as of Dec 31, 2017.
Long-term debt was $1.89 billion, which increased from $1.56 billion in the previous quarter.
For second-quarter 2018, AMETEK expects sales to increase by 10% on a year-over-year basis. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for sales is pegged at $1.17 billion.
Earnings are anticipated to lie in the range of 76-78 cents per diluted share, which reflects year-over-year growth of 17- 20%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is projected at 77 cents per share.
For 2018, the company expects total sales to grow by low-double digits and organic sales by mid-single digit. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at $4.7 billion.
Further, AMETEK revised its guided range upward for adjusted earnings per share from $2.95-$3.05 to $3.06-$3.12, which reflects 17 growth from 2017. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings is pegged at $3.05 per share.
How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?
In the past month, investors have witnessed an upward trend in fresh estimates. There have been five revisions higher for the current quarter compared to one lower.
At this time, AME has a nice Growth Score of B, a grade with the same score on the momentum front. However, the stock was allocated a grade of D on the value side, putting it in the bottom 40% for this investment strategy.
Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of B. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.
Zacks style scores indicate that the company's stock is suitable for growth and momentum investors.
Estimates have been broadly trending upward for the stock and the magnitude of these revisions looks promising. It comes with little surprise AME has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). We expect an above average return from the stock in the next few months.