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Can FLIR Systems (FLIR) Pull a Surprise in Q1 Earnings?

FLIR Systems Inc. FLIR is slated to report first-quarter 2016 results before the opening bell on Apr 26.

Last quarter, the company posted a negative surprise of 2.1%. Also, the company recorded negative surprises for three consecutive quarters, resulting in an average negative surprise of 2.3% for the past four quarters.

Let's see how things are shaping up for this announcement.

Factors to Consider

A well diversified portfolio coupled with diligent restructuring initiatives has boosted growth at FLIR. The restructuring activities undertaken by the company since 2013 have resulted in massive improvements in key metrics like revenue, operating income, operating margin, adjusted net income and adjusted EPS. In this regard, we believe that the recently implemented inventory management plans for each business segment will enhance the operational excellence of the company, thereby boosting its first-quarter results.

In addition, regular product launches and upgrades, leveraging on the proprietary Infrared Guided Measurement (“IGM”) and “Lepton thermal camera core” technologies, have garnered satisfying results. Most of the products introduced in the past few quarters like FLIR Vue PRO, portable mass spectrometer Griffin 410 and T1K series of uncooled high-definition thermal cameras have gained rapid traction, bolstering sales.

During the fourth quarter, the company introduced over 20 new product platforms across all of its 6 segments and 8 of them leveraged the Lepton micro camera core. Rapid market traction of these newly launched products is expected to bloster growth.

Moreover, the previously completed DVTEL buyout has been conducive to FLIR’s small and medium enterprise, infrastructure-level markets thereby cementing its position as a full-spectrum end-to-end security system provider. Also, the company’s collaboration with Chinese drone titan, DJI Innovations, is expected to propel growth by strengthening its position in the commercial drone market.

Furthermore, the company’s Commercially-Developed, Military Qualified (“CDMQ”) model, which has contributed significantly to its financials over the past few quarters, is also to drive impressive results at the government business for the quarter to-be-reported.

Despite these positives, a host of macroeconomic challenges threaten the company’s first-quarter performance. Sluggish economic growth in many of its key markets including Canada, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa are expected to hurt the company’s financials as well.

In addition to this, the company expects softness to continue in many of its key European markets and also anticipates an overall increase in foreign tax rates which will affect both its top line and margins in 2016. Moreover, the company expects margins to remain under pressure in the first quarter of 2016 due to unfavorable product mix. We believe these short-term headwinds will prove to be a drag on first-quarter results.

Also, strong currency fluctuations are expected to impact the company’s top-line performance as it derives a major portion of its sales from outside Europe. Further, the Federal Reserve’s ongoing interest rate hike program and the U.S. government’s plans to restrain funding for modernization and research & development programs in the defense space may pose a threat to FLIR’s operations. In addition, competitive environment in both developed and emerging markets may also hurt FLIR’s profits.

Earnings Whispers

Our proven model does not conclusively show that FLIR will beat earnings this quarter. That is because a stock needs to have both a positive Earnings ESP and a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), 2 (Buy) or 3 (Hold) for this to happen. That is not the case here as you will see below.

Zacks ESP: Earnings ESP for the company is currently 0.00%. This is because both the Most Accurate estimate and the Zacks Consensus Estimate stand at 32 cents.

Zacks Rank: FLIR’s Zacks Rank #3, when combined with 0.00% ESP, makes surprise predictions difficult.

Note that we caution against stocks with a Zacks Rank #4 or 5 (Sell-rated stocks) going into the earnings announcement, especially when the company is seeing negative estimate revisions.

Stocks to Consider

Here are some companies which you may consider, as our model shows that they have the right combination of elements to post an earnings beat this quarter:

First Bancorp FBP has an Earnings ESP of +12.50% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Crane Co. CR has an Earnings ESP of +1.16% and a Zacks Rank #2.

Canadian National Railway Co. CNI carries an Earnings ESP of +1.47% and a Zacks Rank #1.

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FLIR SYSTEMS (FLIR): Free Stock Analysis Report
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