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CORRECT: Ulker Drops as Profit Lags Estimates: Istanbul Mover

Ulker Biskuvi Sanayi AS dropped the most in more than three weeks after Turkey’s largest candy maker reported earnings that missed analysts’ estimates.

Ulker fell as much as 2.4 percent to 12 liras before trimming losses to 12.15 liras at the close in Istanbul yesterday, the biggest drop since Feb. 11. About 595,000 shares were traded, or 1.4 times the stock’s three-month daily average, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The Istanbul Stock Exchange National 100 index slid 0.4 percent.

Net income plunged 75 percent to 167 million liras ($93 million) in 2012, Istanbul-based Ulker said in a regulatory filing after the market closed yesterday. The figure missed the 180.5 million-lira average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Fourth-quarter profit, at 26 million liras, also lagged market estimates, according to Melda Agirdas, an analyst at Ekspres Invest in Istanbul.

“Demand slowdown -- weak sales growth in the high season - - could be troubling in 2013,” Agirdas said in a report yesterday. She maintained her “market underperform” recommendation for the shares, with a 12-month price target of 9.6 liras.

The average unit sales price decreased by 0.6 percent in 2012 over 2011 due to lower pricing on exports as the dollar weakened, Ozgur Kalyoncu, investor relations manager at Yildiz Holding, parent company of Ulker, said by e-mail today. The average sales price contracted 7 percent in the fourth quarter over the same quarter of 2011, he said.

The company will continue a trend of “sustainable and profitable growth,” Chief Executive Officer Mehmet Tutuncu said in an e-mailed statement today.

Ulker traded at 25 times earnings at the close yesterday, compared with 14.2 times for Saudi Arabia’s Savola, and 20.4 times for Israel’s Osem Investments Ltd., according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Four analysts recommend investors buy the shares, nine say to hold them and two advise selling, according to data.

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