Will 3D Systems Ever Have Good Earnings and Guidance Again?

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3D Systems Corp. (NYSE: DDD) reported first-quarter 2015 results before markets opened Wednesday. The 3D printer maker reported adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.05 and $160.7 million in revenues. In the same period a year ago, 3D Systems reported EPS of $0.15 on revenue of $146.76 million. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.04 and $161.78 million in revenue.

On a GAAP basis the company posted a quarterly loss of $0.12.

The company said that negative currency headwinds and demand weakness attributed to several other macroeconomic factors resulted in lower than expected purchases of its 3D printers and materials by some customers. 3D Systems also reported that certain metal and nylon applications and performance issues delayed its ability to sell additional printers during the first quarter of 2015. These factors combined to reduce sales of the company’s design and manufacturing printers and materials and resulted in a decline in organic revenue of 7% compared to total revenue in the year-ago quarter.

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Citing marketplace uncertainties, 3D Systems withdrew its prior guidance. The company had previously guided full-year 2015 revenues in the range of $850 million to $900 million and adjusted EPS of $0.90 to $1.10.

Consensus second-quarter estimates call for EPS of $0.13 on revenues of $181.36 million. For the full year, analysts were looking for EPS of $0.65 on revenues of $791.7 million.

The company’s CEO said:

We were surprised and disappointed by the abrupt interruption in customer demand late in the quarter from several economic factors that we believe caused many of our customers to defer their planned investments. … While the current economic climate interfered with our planned cadence for 2015, we believe that the fundamentals of our business and the strength of our portfolio are intact. We remain optimistic about the market opportunities ahead and are fast tracking our planned integration, productivity and efficiency measures without impairing future growth.

The company also said it plans to “substantially moderate” its merger and acquisitions activity for the rest of this year “as it has shifted its focus towards leveraging recently acquired assets that it expects will result in operating expense reductions in the second half of 2015.” In other words, if 3D Systems is going to show profits, they will come largely from reduced expenses. This is hardly what investors expect from a growth-oriented stock.

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The shares have dropped 75% since reaching a peak over $97 in December of 2013. It seems that the company has missed estimates in virtually every quarter since then, whether on more acquisitions or poor sales. Shares are down 26% year to date.

Shares of 3D Systems traded down about 0.9% in Wednesday’s premarket, at $24.00 in a 52-week range of $23.85 to $69.56. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of $29.37 before today’s results were announced.