News Column

Austin companies see positive earnings reports

August 7, 2014

By Dan Zehr, Austin American-Statesman



Aug. 07--Shares of five Austin companies rose by midday Thursday as investors reacted positively to their second-quarter earnings reports. Shares in a sixth local company were down slightly after its earnings release.

LDR Holding Corp. saw its stock price jump more than 9 percent after the medical-device company reported strong growth for its exclusive spinal treatment technologies. Sales jumped 30.7 percent during the second three months of 2014, to $34.8 million from $26.6 million during the same period last year.

LDR said it also narrowed its losses during the quarter, improving to a net loss of $2.3 million (-9 cents a share) from a loss of $3.0 million (-62 cents a share) last year.

Thermon Group Holdings Inc. shares jumped more than 5 percent, as it reported strong second-quarter orders and a growing backlog for its industrial heat tracing technologies. Revenue increased to $67.7 million from $65.6 million, an increase of 3.2 percent.

The company also swung to a profit in the second quarter this year, with earnings of $11.5 million (36 cents a share) compared with a loss of $6.9 million (-22 cents a share) last year.

Investors pumped up Superconductor Technologies Inc. shares about 1.5 percent as the company said it started shipping a new product and drastically cut its losses. While revenue dropped to $75,000 from $555,000 in the second quarter last year, its net loss narrowed to $55,000 (0 cents a share) from a loss of $2.4 million last year (-54 cents a share).

Summit Hotel Properties Inc. got a similar stock price bump Thursday, the morning after it said an increase in its revenue per available room helped boost sales and earnings. The hotel developer said second-quarter revenue rose by a third, to $105.5 million from $79.1 million last year. Profit increased at a similar rate, to $9.2 million (6 cents a share) from $6.7 million (4 cents a share).

Jones Energy Inc., which also reported earnings Wednesday evening, said a strong increase in its average net oil production helped drive a 65 percent rise in revenue during the quarter and led it to increase its production forecast for the year.

The oil and gas producer's revenue rose to $106.4 million from $64.5 million during the same three months last year. However, it swung to a loss during the quarter due to a drop in value of its commodity derivatives, investment tools often used to hedge against price volatility. It reported a loss of $9.2 million, compared with net income of $48.7 million last year.

The one lone exception to the rising share prices was Citizens Inc., which reported a drop in net income as it set aside more money for potential policy benefits it might have to pay in the future. The life insurance company said quarterly revenue increased 5.4 percent, to $56.5 million from $53.6 million.

Net income dipped 12 percent, however, to $1.2 million from $1.3 million last year. Earnings per share was essentially flat, at 4 cent a share for all stock classes combined. Citizens' stock had dipped about 2 percent by midday Thursday.

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(c)2014 Austin American-Statesman, Texas

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Source: Austin American-Statesman (TX)


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