) to buy from hold.
Analyst Peter Friedland says the maker of advanced positioning and surveying instrumentation products posted 29 cents third-quarter GAAP earnings per share, beating his and the consensus estimates for 28 cents earnings per share. Trimble posted $139.6 million in revenue, which was $8 million above his estimate. Friedland attributes the upside to stronger-than-expected sales of land survey equipment, and a greater-than-expected impact from the Applanix acquisition and the Nikon-Trimble joint venture.
He notes days sales outstanding fell to 59 days from 69 days, resulting in solid operating cash flow of $19.4 million. He says the fourth-quarter guidance is below his and the consensus estimates, but thinks the 2004 outlook is above his estimates.
Friedland trimmed the 26 cents fourth-quarter earnings per share estimate to 25 cents, and raised the $1.46 2004 earnings per share estimate to $1.65. He has a $29 12-month target.