3 IN. DI LETTURA
* Q1 EPS ex-items 37 cents vs 28 cents est
* Q1 net sales $64 mln vs $61.3 mln est
* Backs prior segment outlook
* Shares up 33 pct
(Recasts, adds analyst comments, share movement
May 8 (Reuters) - LMI Aerospace Inc LMIA.O, which makes parts for the aerospace and defense industries, posted better-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by sales at its aerostructures segment, sending its shares up 33 percent.
"The beat is not surprising as expectations for the stock have plummeted throughout 2009, given macroeconomic headwinds, the downturn in aerospace and management's lowering of expectations," Jesup & Lamont analyst Alex Hamilton said in a note.
However, the analyst, who rates the stock "hold," said despite the successful quarter LMI will struggle throughout 2009 and 2010.
"The market environment is still challenging and we are working to cover anticipated future production rate cuts in 2010 with new program awards," Chief Executive Ronald Saks said in a statement.
The company said it had begun receiving orders on the Boeing 747-8 passenger model and demand from United Technologies' (UTX.N) Sikorsky Blackhawk helicopter was expected to increase.
LMI, whose customers include Gulfstream and Spirit AeroSystems (SPR.N), reported first-quarter profit of $3.4 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with $4.5 million, or 40 cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.
These results include special items totaling 7 cents a share.
Revenue rose 7 percent to $64 million.
Analysts on average expected earnings of 28 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $61.3 million, according to Reuters Estimates.
Sales at the company's aerostructures segment rose 17 percent to $43.3 million, helped by higher product sales for large commercial aircrafts like the Boeing 747 and 767, and increased military products sales for the Sikorsky Blackhawk and Boeing Apache.
The latest first quarter also benefited from subsiding effects of the Boeing (BA.N) labor strike, which had hurt LMI's 2008 fourth-quarter when Boeing's commercial airplane production was halted due to its 27,000-strong machinists union going on a 58-day strike.
The company maintained its 2009 net sales outlook for the aerostructures segment of $180 million to $190 million.
Engineering services revenue is still expected to range from $80 million to $84 million for the period.
Shares of the company had touched a high of $8.95 before paring some gains to trade up $1.72 at $8.40 in Friday afternoon on Nasdaq.
For the alerts, double click [ID:nWNAB6278] (Reporting by Eric Yep in Bangalore; Editing by Anil D'Silva and Aradhana Aravindan)