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Thursday, 05/08/2008 11:28:40 AM

Thursday, May 08, 2008 11:28:40 AM

Post# of 7
May 8, 2008, 6:38AM
Ahead of the Bell: Analyst trims Greatbatch profit estimate

NEW YORK — A Piper Jaffray analyst cut his estimates on Greatbatch Inc. Thursday, saying the medical components maker's thinning profit margins could lead to disappointing annual results.

Early Wednesday, the Clarence, N.Y., company said it swung to a first-quarter loss on buyout costs and higher manufacturing expenses. Its adjusted profit was smaller than analysts expected, and shares fell to their lowest price in three-and-a-half years.

Analyst Thomas Gunderson kept a "Neutral" rating, but slashed his profit forecast to 98 cents per share from $1.35 per share. He lowered his price target to $16 per share from $19.50.

Although Greatbatch's sales were better than he expected, Gunderson said the company's margins declined, leading to the disappointing profit. He added that revenue at Greatbatch's core medical business fell 10 percent in the quarter.

The company maintained its 2008 adjusted profit outlook, but Gunderson thinks that estimate is now "at risk."

On average, analysts reporting to Thomson Financial expect the company to earn $1.24 per share this year.

Greatbatch stock closed at $15.84 Wednesday, and has lost more than half its value since Sept. 25, when it reduced its expectations for 2007.

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