Three-Five Systems says 4Q sales, earnings will disappoint

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Three-Five Systems dropped the bomb after the bell Thursday, warning that sales and earnings in its fourth quarter will fall far below analysts' estimates.

Three-Five Systems (NYSE: TFS) shares closed off $2.44 to $26.31 ahead of the news.

Company officials told investors to expect sales of between $36 million to $38 million rather than the $45 million it previously anticipated.

It sees earnings coming in at between 8 cents to 10 cents a share, well below the First Call Corp. consensus estimate of 20 cents a share.

"One of our LCD driver suppliers had a one-time yield issue that resulted in a decommitment by that supplier of previously scheduled deliveries," said CEO Jack Saltich in a prepared release. "As a result, $7 to $8 million of orders will go unfulfilled in this quarter. Orders missed in the fourth quarter are usually not carried over to the first quarter."

Last quarter, Three-Five Systems topped reduced estimates when it earned $4.3 million, or 15 cents a share, on sales of $40.2 million.

First Call Corp. consensus expects it to earn $1.01 a share in fiscal 2001.

"Our guidance for 2001 remains unchanged," Saltich added. "On a relative basis, sequential revenue growth in the first quarter is expected, and that growth should be in the range of 8 percent to 10 percent."

The stock moved as high as $82.50 in May before falling to a low of $18.38 in October.

All five analysts tracking the stock maintain either a "buy" or "strong buy" recommendation.