Defense, Airbus Sales Give Moog a Lift

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The aerospace industry had a good year in 2017, and that has helped not only the manufacturers of aircraft directly but also the companies that sell the components and systems that go into those sophisticated machines. Moog (NYSE: MOG-A) (NYSE: MOG-B) offers a diverse set of products that have uses not only in aircraft but also in space and defense-oriented applications as well as more basic industry systems.

Coming into Friday's fiscal first-quarter financial report, Moog investors were optimistic that the company could keep enjoying the success it has in the past year. Results were encouraging, and although there are challenges to overcome, Moog on the whole has done a good job of tapping into the positive trends in its industry. Let's look more closely at Moog and what its latest results say about its future.

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Momentum builds at Moog

Moog's fiscal first-quarter results extended a long trend of growth for the aerospace company. Total sales of $628 million were up 6% from the year-ago period, which was better than the 4% to 5% growth rate that most investors were looking to see from the company. After accounting for extraordinary one-time items, adjusted net income climbed 10% to $33.7 million, and that produced adjusted earnings of $0.93 per share, topping the consensus forecast for $0.87 per share.

One headwind that Moog had to deal with during the quarter was a one-time charge related to the new tax reform law. That adjustment cost Moog $32.4 million, although the company said that the new rules will be a net benefit in the long run.

As we've seen a lot recently, aircraft-related revenue was a primary growth driver for the company. Aircraft controls segment revenue was up just 4% for the quarter, but commercial aircraft sales growth of 10% came mostly from a 14% boost in business with aerospace giant Airbus. Commercial aftermarket sales soared by more than a quarter, thanks in large part to customers stocking up on spare units for the Airbus A350. Military-related aircraft component sales were weak, falling 3% on a 10% drop in aftermarket sales due to reduced activity with the B-2 and V-22 aircraft.

Elsewhere, Moog's results were solid. Space and defense segment sales were up 9%, with defense posting double-digit gains on increased military vehicle demand in the U.S. and Europe. Space-related sales climbed 5% due to satellite avionics demand. The industrial segment picked up 9% on its top line, with industrial automation systems leading the way higher. Simulation and testing products, energy-related systems, and medical-related sales also saw good gains.

From a bottom-line perspective, Moog enjoyed gains in the aircraft controls and space and defense business, with the latter posting an impressive rise of almost 80%. Industrial systems operating profit eased lower, holding back Moog's overall growth.

What's next for Moog?

CEO John Scannell gave a typically terse comment. "The quarter got us off to a good start for the year," Scannell said. The CEO also noted that earnings topped guidance and reassured investors that the tax-related charges would lead to longer-term benefits.

Moog largely kept most of its fiscal 2018 guidance unchanged, although it did make some updates to reflect the new tax laws. It still sees 2018 revenue at $2.62 billion, or 5% higher than 2017's figures. Adjusted earnings per share should come in between $3.90 and $4.30, although the company noted that its GAAP figures will be lower because of the one-time charge in the just-finished quarter.

Moog shareholders seemed happy with the results, and the stock climbed by 2% on Friday after the announcement, reaching new all-time highs. As long as the aerospace sector keeps doing well, Moog will be in a good position to take advantage and keep delivering profit to its business.

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Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends Moog (A shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.