Barco published a very short 1Q trading update, showing sales that came in below our expectations. The order book supports our FY estimates that are based on 6% sales growth however, and we expect limited or no changes to our and consensus FY forecasts. As the share price is approaching our target, we downgrade to Accumulate from Buy with an unchanged € 56 target price.
The trading update showed 0.5% sales growth in 1Q to € 240.1m (from € 239.2m in 1Q11) where we expected 6% growth to € 254.5m. The consensus might have been slightly more prudent at € 251m.
Most divisions performed slightly below our expectations, with the exception of Defence & Aerospace (4.6% sales growth, where we expect flat sales). Entertainment sales were down 2.6% (we expected 7% growth), Healthcare was up 6% (we had pencilled in 11%); and Control Rooms showed 4% growth (our forecast: 6%). Ventures revenues were down 10%, where we had pencilled in flat sales.
Quarterly profits are not disclosed, but Barco says 1Q12 EBIT is stable compared to 1Q11, confirming the fairly stable margins we expected. 1Q order intake is down 12% y/y due to a very difficult comparison base (1Q11 orders were up 36% y/y) but the total order book is up 5% y/y, a very acceptable performance and broadly in line with the 6% sales growth we expect this year.
Barco states these results are in line with management expectations, and that they “confirm the outlook for 2012”. The company has not issued formal 2012 guidance however, apart from saying that management believes that Barco's momentum for profitable growth will be sustainable.
Our View & Conclusion:
1Q sales come in weaker than we expected, which is surprising given the bullish tone at last week’s analyst meeting. Nevertheless, the order book is up y/y and we will probably keep our FY forecasts (6% growth, and slight margin improvement this year). Overall, we expect only limited or no changes to our and CSS forecasts.
We keep our € 56 target (11x PE12) but we downgrade to Accumulate from BUY as the share price is approaching our target after the strong performance over the last months.
As usual, there is no conference call at the occasion of the trading update.