What to Expect When Oshkosh Corporation Reports Q3 Earnings

Oshkosh Corporation(NYSE: OSK)will announce fourth-quarter results on Tuesday, Nov. 1, 2016. With shares of the specialty truckmaker up 7.6% over the past three months since itsthird-quarter earnings beat, what can we expect to hear when Oshkosh's latest report lands?

Oshkosh is hoping its fire & emergency segment continues to outperform. Image source: Getty Images.

Annual performance

In its third-quarter earnings call, management increased its full-year outlook for earnings per share, as well as raising and tightening the range from an earlier $2.30 to $2.70 to a range of $2.60 to $2.80. The company also issued a 2016 sales estimate of $6 billion to $6.1 billion, and an operating-income projection of $340 million to $360 million.

But at its Investor Day in late September, the company revised those numbers even further upward. It now anticipates adjusted EPS of $2.85 to $3.00, revenues of $6.1 to $6.2 billion, and adjusted operating income of $360 million to $375 million. The company is clearly confident in its ability to deliver strong results this year.

These are optimistic projections, but the company has broken down how it expects to get there. It is projecting sales in the access equipment segment -- its largest, representing nearly half of all revenue -- of $2.95 billion, down slightly from 2015 as overseas growth and cost-cutting fails to offset weaker North American demand. Anticipated sales in the defense segment are up due to a large contract for Mine-Resistant Ambush-Protected All-Terrain Vehicles, or M-ATVs, expected to close in the fourth quarter. And in the fire & emergency segment, the backlog is at a record high due to recovering municipal spending and gains in market share.

As CFO David Sagehorn remarked on the Q3 earnings call, "A lot of moving pieces, but overall a positive outlook for 2016."

Be on the lookout for whether the company beats its own projections (which would indicate unexpectedly positive sales over just the last month). The Thomson Reuters analysts' consensus for annual EPS is right in the middle of the company's projected range, at $2.92, indicating confidence that the company's projections are accurate.

In defense of the portfolio

One important thing to listen for on the earnings call is for any new information or projections about the company's defense segment. With the large access equipment segment lagging, the company is looking to defense to pick up some of the slack.

A good benchmark of the defense segment's current performance will be international sales of M-ATVs. The company expects to sell about 325 of them in the fourth quarter and 600 overall for the year. If it meets or exceeds that benchmark, it will be a good sign that sales continue to be robust.

Also, listen for news about the defense segment's Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program. Oshkosh has a $6.7 billion contract for an expected 18,000+ vehicles, to be delivered through 2024. If all is going according to schedule, the company should have wrapped up its armor coupon testing and blast hull testing in Q4 2016, and be ready to begin (or have already begun) performance, reliability, and live-fire testing in the current quarter, with full-rate production set to begin in 2020.

However, even a small delay can have implications down the line. I'll be listening to see if things still sound as though they're on track with this major contract.

In the end, we'll have more clarity on the state of all of Oshkosh's business segments on Tuesday, but I wouldn't expect its actual results to differ materially from the expectations management outlined just a month ago.

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John Bromels has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.