Saab Plunges Most in 3 Years as Orders Drop

Saab AB (SAABB), the Swedish maker of the Gripen fighter plane, fell the most in three years after quarterly orders were cut in half and earnings missed analysts’ estimates.

Saab declined as much as 16 percent, the most since February 2009, and was down 9.2 percent at 135.50 kronor as of 1:06 p.m. in Stockholm.

“They lacked big orders in the quarter,” said Mats Liss, an analyst at Swedbank in Stockholm who recommends investors buy Saab’s stock. “Cash flow was also on the thin side.”

The manufacturer’s orders dropped to 5.11 billion kronor from 11.9 billion kronor a year earlier. Saab, which has won a tentative Gripen jet fighter order with Switzerland and is competing in Brazil, forecast that sales will “increase slightly” this year compared with 2011.

Fourth-quarter net income rose to 413 million kronor ($62.1 million), or 3.92 kronor per share, from 8 million kronor, or 0.09 krona, a year earlier, the Linkoeping-based company said today in a statement. The profit missed the average estimate of 474 million kronor in a Bloomberg survey of five analysts. Sales declined 8.8 percent to 7.35 billion kronor.

The shares dropped as Chief Executive Officer Hakan Buskhe held his earnings presentation in Stockholm. The stock then pared its decline.

“I have no idea why” the shares plunged, Buskhe said in an interview after the presentation. “I had just been talking about us having a record year” in 2011.

Defense spending is decreasing in the U.S. and Europe, while it’s rising in Asia, Buskhe said in the presentation. On a global level it remains roughly the same, he said.

Brazil’s government has signalled that it will make its decision on the jet-fighter purchase in the first half of this year, Buskhe said in the interview. The CEO remains “cautiously optimistic” that Saab will win that order, he said. Competitors include Dassault Aviation SA (AM)’s Rafale fighter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ola Kinnander in Stockholm at okinnander@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Benedikt Kammel at bkammel@bloomberg.net

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.