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Adtran will miss 4Q targets by a mile

Adtran waited until Friday to warn that its fourth-quarter sales and earnings will fall dramatically short of analysts' estimates.

The maker of high-speed digital transmission products for the telecommunications industry said it now expects sales of between $110 million to $115 million in the quarter and earnings of between 16 cents to 20 cents a share.

Adtran (Nasdaq: ADTN) shares closed up 75 cents to $28.06 ahead of the warning.

First Call Corp. consensus was expecting a profit of 55 cents a share in the quarter.

"We expect that revenues in both our carrier and enterprise markets as well as in each of our four product groups will fall short of our original expectations by varying degrees," said COO Howard Thrailkill in a prepared release. "Through the first three quarters of 2000 our order rates were strong and accelerating. However, by the end of November the trend clearly changed, and we became convinced that achieving our original revenue and related margin and income expectations is unlikely."

The company expects earnings of between $6.5 million to $8 million in the quarter and gross profit margins of between 40 percent to 43 percent, well below analysts' estimates.

Last quarter, it easily beat the Street estimate when it pocketed $21.4 million, or 54 cents a share, on sales of $127.3 million.

The stock peaked at $80.50 in March before falling to a low of $23 earlier this week.

Eleven of the 12 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

Analysts were projecting a fiscal 2001 profit of $2.35 a share.