3D Systems Plunges After Printer Maker Misses Its Forecast

3D Systems Corp., a maker of printers that create three-dimensional objects, plunged the most in more than two years after the company said its annual profit missed expectations and consumer demand was sluggish.

Excluding some items, its annual profit was 83 cents to 87 cents a share, the Rock Hill, South Carolina-based company said today in a statement. 3D Systems had previously projected earnings of as much as $1.03 a share. The company plans to report final numbers on Feb. 28.

3D Systems, aiming to cultivate a still-nascent market, pumped money into research, manufacturing and marketing last quarter, crimping profit margins. The company also cited soft demand for consumer printers and parts, though its professional 3-D printers sold better than expected. Management has made a conscious decision to focus on growth instead of profit, 3D Systems said in the statement.

“We are willing to tolerate earnings reduction and even slight gross profit margin compression during this period to substantially accelerate our growth rate and market share,” Chief Executive Officer Avi Reichental said.

After almost doubling over the past year, the shares plunged in the wake of the announcement. The stock was down 15 percent to $64.10 in New York, marking the biggest one-day decline since October 2011.

3D Systems also narrowed its sales forecast, saying it expected annual revenue of $513 million to $514 million. The company had previously projected $500 million to $530 million.

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