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Celestica stock falls after Q3 disappointment

TORONTO - Celestica Inc. (TSX:CLS) stock took a drubbing Thursday after the Canadian global manufacturing company missed analyst expectations with its third-quarter revenue and profit.

TORONTO - Celestica Inc. (TSX:CLS) stock took a drubbing Thursday after the Canadian global manufacturing company missed analyst expectations with its third-quarter revenue and profit.

The stock closed down 49 cents, or 5.4 per cent, at $8.59 on the Toronto Stock Exchange after going as low as $8.15 at one point. Volume of more than 2.9 million shares was more than five times its times its daily average of some 550,000 shares.

Celestica said revenue slipped to US$1.55 billion in the quarter. That was only a slight, $10-million decline from a year earlier and within the company's own guidance, but analysts had expected an increase to US$1.6 billion.

Celestica's adjusted net income also fell short of estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters. The company reported profit of 20 cents per share, up from 19 cents a year before, but two cents short of analyst estimates.

Celestica manufacturers a variety of products at factories around the world, including consumer electronics such as game consoles and smartphones. Others are more of an industrial nature for manufacturers of computer, telecom, data storage, automotive and aerospace products.

Craig Muhlhauser, Celestica's president and chief executive officer, said the company "experienced some demand changes late in the third quarter, primarily in our consumer end market, which shifted the demand into the fourth quarter."

"While this shift impacted revenue and inventory performance in the third quarter, demand from our other end markets generally performed as we expected," Muhlhauser said in a conference call with analysts Thursday.

He said Celestica was in solid financial shape despite the turbulent market, generating $81 million in free cash flow to end the quarter with $761 million in cash, even after spending $37 million to buy back and cancel common shares.

"Given our strong cash position, consistent operating performance and increasing revenue growth, we continue to believe that deploying capital through out buyback program reflects our confidence in the execution of our strategy and our ability to achieve our financial goals," Muhlhauser said.

Paul Nicoletti, Celestica's chief financial officer, said new programs in Celestica's consumer and server segments will drive a 15 per cent growth in overall revenue in the fourth quarter, compared with the third quarter of this year.

"We anticipate revenue to be in a range of $1.7 (billion) to $1.8 billion, which would represent a $150 (million) to $300 million sequential revenue increase," Nicoletti said.

The anticipated adjusted earnings per share range for the fourth quarter is between 20 and 26 cents US.

Celestica, which reports in U.S. currency, said its net income in the third quarter was $35.4 million, or 15 cents per share, an improvement from a near break-even loss of $600,000 in the third quarter of 2009.