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FLIR Systems, Inc. (FLIR) is slated to release its first-quarter 2012 earnings result on Friday, April 27, 2012. The current Zacks Consensus Estimate for first-quarter earnings per share (EPS) is 33 cents, representing an annualized growth of 4.37%.

FLIR's earnings were above the Zacks Consensus Estimate in fourth and third quarters of 2011 while was below in the second and first quarters of 2011. The company's average positive earnings surprise for the trailing four quarters was 0.02%.

Fourth Quarter Highlights

FLIR Systems reported its fourth-quarter 2011 earnings from continuing operations of 49 cents, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 45 cents and prior-year earnings of 43 cents. For 2011, earnings per share from continuing operations were $1.38, below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.53 and prior-year earnings of $1.54. Full-year earnings was affected by net after tax impact of the severance cost, excluding which earnings per share came in at $1.58.

Total revenue was $405.2 million in the fourth quarter, a decrease of 7% year over year. Total backlog at the end of December 31, 2011 was about $456 million, down $90 million during the quarter. For 2011, total revenue was $1.54 billion, an increase of 11% year over year.

Commercial Systems division was $228.4 million, up 3% year over year. Government Systems division was $180.4 million in the quarter, down 18% year over year.

Agreement of Estimate Revisions

None of the analysts have increased their estimate in the last 7 or 30 days. In the last 7 and 30 days, one analyst each has lowered its estimate for first-quarter 2012, second-quarter 2012 and full-year 2013. There was no decrease or increase in estimate by analysts for 2012.

Magnitude of Estimate Revisions

In the last 7 or 30 days, there was no change in earnings estimate for the first-quarter 2012, second-quarter 2012 or full-year 2012. However, for 2013, earnings estimate increased from $1.85 to $1.86 and then again lowered from $1.86 to $1.85 in the last 7 days.

Our Take

FLIR Systems is witnessing increased interest for its solutions across many governments and agencies. The company's competitive advantage lies in its ability to provide highly capable and rapidly obtainable products with prices and customer service that are better than its competitors.

With its fourth-quarter release, the company provided earnings per share guidance for 2012 of $1.60 to $1.70, up 16% to 23% year over year. Total revenue is expected to be in the range of $1.55 billion to $1.65 billion, up 0% to 7% year over year.

FLIR Systems Inc. is a leader in design, manufacture and marketing of thermal imaging systems. Its products are used in a wide variety of applications in commercial, industrial and government markets, internationally as well as domestically. It offers a wide variety of system configurations to suit specific customer requirements. The company's business is organized into three divisions: Government Systems, Commercial Vision Systems and Thermography Products.

We continue to maintain a Neutral rating on FLIR System for the long term. The company has a Zacks #3 Rank (Hold recommendation) over the next one-to-three months.

Source: FLIR Systems: Earnings Preview