Jan. 31 (Bloomberg) -- Oshkosh Corp., a maker of blast- resistant military trucks, said its first-quarter profit fell 61 percent as sales to the U.S. Defense Department declined.
Net income dropped to $38.9 million, or 42 cents a share, in the quarter ended Dec. 31, from $99.6 million, or $1.09 a share, in the year-earlier period, the company said in a statement. Excluding some items, per-share profit was 37 cents, exceeding the 34-cent average estimate of 12 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.
Revenue rose 10.5 percent to $1.88 billion in the quarter from $1.7 billion a year earlier.
The company said it expected a better performance next year. Improving cost structure, new products and increasing sales in emerging markets “will deliver earnings growth in 2013 and beyond,” Chief Executive Officer Charles Szews said in a statement.
Shareholders on Jan. 27 rejected billionaire investor Carl Icahn’s challenge to install six candidates on the 13-member board of directors. The company said at least 12 of its 13 nominees were elected, citing preliminary results.
“With the proxy fight behind the company’s management, we believe that the focus will be on growth opportunities,” Walter Liptak, an analyst with Barrington Research Associates Inc. in Chicago, said yesterday in a note to investors.
Oshkosh, based in the Wisconsin city of the same name, fell 42 cents to $24.99 yesterday in New York trading. The shares have declined 33 percent in the past 12 months.
Icahn, 75, has criticized Oshkosh’s performance and management. He suggested selling the JLG business and merging Oshkosh with another truck maker, Navistar International Corp. of Warrenville, Illinois. Last year, Icahn announced a 9.5 percent stake in Oshkosh and a 9.8 percent stake in Navistar.
Charles Brady, an analyst with BMO Capital Markets Corp. in Boston, said in a Jan. 27 note to clients the election results were a “significant win for Oshkosh and a repudiation of Carl Icahn.” He said Icahn will probably sell his shares of Oshkosh. He rates the company as “outperform.”
The company also reported profit on an U.S. Army contract valued at more than $3 billion to build trucks and trailers for the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, or FMTV, three months earlier than expected.
Sales at two of Oshkosh’s four units rose during the quarter, led by a 74 percent increase in external customer sales to $505 million in the access equipment segment, which makes aerial lift platforms, the company said.
Revenue in the commercial unit rose 44 percent to $172 million, while defense fell 6 percent to $1.05 billion, and fire and emergency fell 19 percent to $163 million, it said.
--Editors: Stephanie Stoughton, Joe Winski
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