Stratasys expects costs to rise, profit forecast lags Street

Tue Jan 14, 2014 8:16am EST

(Reuters) - Industrial 3D printer maker Stratasys Ltd's (SSYS.O) full-year profit forecast fell way below analysts' estimates as the company expects a steep rise in costs in 2014.

Shares of Stratasys, which makes prototyping systems to help products market faster, fell nearly 5 percent to $124 in trading before the bell.

The company, whose customers include Ford Motor Co (F.N), Intel Corp (INTC.O) and NASA, forecast a significant increase in operating costs driven by investment in sales and marketing and development of new products and technology.

Stratasys estimated capital costs of $50 million-$70 million this year and said it plans to invest in manufacturing capacity, anticipating future growth.

Jefferies & Co recently started coverage on stocks of 3D printers, expecting near-term growth driven by prototyping and long-term opportunity from mass-manufacturing.

Stratasys on Tuesday forecast 2014 adjusted earnings of $2.15-$2.25 per share, missing analysts' average expectations of $2.33 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company expects revenue of $660 million-$680 million, exceeding analysts' estimates of $656.8 million.

Stratasys maintained that desktop 3D printer maker MakerBot, which it acquired last June, would add to earnings this year.

(Reporting by Chandni Doulatramani in Bangalore; Editing by Rodney Joyce and Joyjeet Das)

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