Hexcel Corp. Needs To Start Firing On All Cylanders

| About: Hexcel Corporation (HXL)

Small Cap and Mid Cap Watch List member Hexcel Corporation (NYSE:HXL) reported results for the second quarter of 2007. Net sales from continuing operations in the quarter were $289.8 million, 5.8% higher than the $274.0 million reported for the second quarter of 2006 but below the consensus estimate of $296 million. Net income from continuing operations for the second quarter of 2007 was $17.5 million, or $0.18 per diluted share, slightly ahead of consensus. Net loss from discontinued operations was $8.7 million, or $0.09 per diluted share including an after-tax charge of $9.7 million for previously disclosed legal matters. According to the company:

The second quarter saw a continuation of the first quarter sales pattern for the commercial aerospace market. Because of the A380 delay, Airbus sales were again down significantly from a year ago, but strong demand from all other major customers resulted in the almost 9% overall growth in our commercial aerospace sales. Start-up, training and qualification efforts combined with some unplanned maintenance outages put some pressure on our margins but we still met our guidance targets and expect better year-on-year margin expansion for the remainder of 2007.

The ramp up of new B787 and A380 programs layered on top of increasing aircraft build rates should provide opportunity for good volume leverage next year. Longer term we are encouraged by the continued strength in wind turbine and aircraft orders, especially the new composite intensive A350 XWB.

I’ve commented at length about the A380 problems and I’ve also noted the extraordinary pricing power enjoyed by turbine makers. If the company could start hitting on all cylinders it might be a strong performer. As it is, the company raised sales guidance to the high end of prior levels.

HXL 1-yr chart:

HXL 1-yr chart