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Alliant Techsystems Rises on Higher Profit: Washington Mover

Alliant Techsystems Inc., the U.S. military’s largest ammunition maker, rose the most in nine months as higher defense sales helped first-quarter earnings top estimates. It raised its full-year forecast.

Alliant, known as ATK, increased 7 percent to close at $51.94 in New York, the biggest one-day gain since Nov. 3. The shares have decreased 9 percent this year.

Profit rose 4 percent to $70.8 million, or $2.16 a share, in the fiscal quarter ended July 1, from $67.8 million, $2.02 a share, in the year-ago period. Analysts had predicted profit of $1.42 a share, the average of 12 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“ATK recorded a solid quarter with strong program execution and orders flow and increased ammunition sales volume,” Chief Executive Officer Mark DeYoung said in a statement today.

The Arlington, Virginia-based company raised its full-year profit forecast to between $7 and $7.30 a share from between $6.25 to $6.55 a share.

Sales advanced less than 1 percent to $1.08 billion from the year-earlier period. Higher sales in defense and a commercial ammunition and accessories unit were partly offset by a decrease in the aerospace segment.

“The market has beaten up ATK over the last several months, but Q1 results should be enough to give it a boost, even if they were largely driven by Radford contract close-outs,” Joseph Nadol, a JPMorgan equity analyst in New York, wrote today in a note to clients. He was referring to a defense contract the company lost this year to BAE Systems Plc.

The Pentagon on Jan. 24 awarded London-based BAE a contract to operate the Radford Army Ammunition Plant near Radford, Virginia. ATK had held the contract, valued at as much as $850 million over 10 years, since 1995.

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