Astrotech Swings a Profit, Shares Surge 50 Percent

Andrew Klips  |

Microcap aerospace company Astrotech Corporation (ASTC) shocked the markets on Tuesday when it posted a profitable fourth quarter in fiscal 2013, swinging from a net loss a year prior, while narrowing to a modest net loss for the full fiscal year.

Astrotech is one of the first space commerce companies, diversified in its offerings that include commercial satellite and spaceship customers, development of a miniature mass spectrometer and a biotechnology division that is using microgravity as a research platform for drug discovery.  Astrotech was formed in 1984 as Spacehab Inc. and employees about 66 employees.

For the quarter ended June 30, the Austin, Texas-based company reported revenue of $9.2 million, up from $7.6 million in the year prior quarter.  Net income for the quarter was $2.2 million, or 11 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $1.3 million, or 7 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

For the full fiscal year, Astrotech generated revenue of $24.0 million and a net loss of $200,000, or 1 cent per share.  In fiscal 2012, net loss was $2.7 million, or 15 cents per share, on revenue of $26.1 million, indicating that Astrotech has reigned in spending.

Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA, were $2.6 million for the latest quarter and $1.6 million for the full year.

Astrotech’s core business, Astrotech Space Operations, supported the processing of eight missions during the fiscal year.  ASO provides all support necessary for government and commercial clients to process satellite hardware for launch, including planning, construction, use of equipment and facilities, fueling, transport and more.

During the year, the company completed a new development facility in Webster, Texas.  The company says its subsidiary 1st Detect is ramping up manufacturing capabilities for expected partnerships as it develops a miniature mass spectrometer under an agreement with NASA that it plans to launch commercially.

"Our fourth quarter performance has been exceptional, and we are proud to release the best earnings report in over three years," said Carlisle Kirkpatrick, CFO of Astrotech. "During the quarter, Astrotech Space Operations processed two very important U.S. government missions and we are nearly complete on our multi-year Ground Support Equipment contract.”

Astrotech’s 18-month rolling backlog, which includes contractual backlog, scheduled but uncommitted missions, and the design and fabrication of GSE, was $25.5 million at June 30, 2013.

Working capital was $4.3 million at the end of the year, which included $5.1 million in cash and cash equivalents and $5.3 million of accounts receivable.

Shares of ASTC have bounced around in 2013, but were down about 25 percent through Monday’s close at 67 cents.  Today’s news shot the stock ahead to erase the losses, hitting as high as $1.23 before settling back down to $1.02 about two hours into trading, for gains of 52 percent.

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