* Q2 EPS $0.45 vs est $0.39
* Q2 revenue up 11 pct to $209.2 mln, beats est
* CEO: Inaction by Congress on highway bill a concern
* Shares rise as much as 9 pct
(Adds analysts comments, updates share movement)
By Rachel Chitra
BANGALORE, July 20 Road construction equipment
maker Astec Industries Inc (ASTE.O) posted better-than-expected
quarterly results as its international sales rose 34 percent,
sending its shares up 9 percent.
Astec expects its key international segment to perform well
in the second half of the year, driven by increased
infrastructure and construction activity. However, it said it
was "less optimistic" about the domestic segment.
"The company has a more optimistic outlook on international
sales as other economies are spending on a more aggressive
front. But here, domestically, everyone is on hold," analyst
Morris Ajzenman of Griffin Securities Inc said.
In the United States, weak construction markets and lack of
resolution on the highway bill will likely weigh on the
company's results going forward, analyst Lawrence De Maria of
Sterne, Agee & Leach said by phone.
Astec, which makes equipment for asphalt road building,
pipeline and utility trenching, said it was concerned about the
lack of action by the U.S. Congress on a new six-year highway
bill, which authorizes federal funding for state highway
"The highway bill is not a priority in Washington right
now. They have to sort out the energy bill, sort out mid-term
elections... As a result, there is not much of a demand for
highways or highway-building equipment," analyst De Maria said.
With the $286 billion highway bill -- one of the richest
and most popular legislative undertakings for states -- on
hold, fewer states are putting out projects to bid, which has
led to intense competition and margin pressure.
"Our customers will remain cautious and reluctant to make
major capital expenditure commitments until a bill is passed in
Washington," Astec Chief Executive Don Brock said in a
International sales, which accounted for 38 percent of
total revenue, rose to $80 million in the second quarter. Total
revenue rose 11 percent to $209.2 million.
Astec Industries reported quarterly earnings of $10.3
million, or 45 cents a share, compared with $7.7 million, or 34
cents a share, in the year-ago quarter.
Analysts on average were expecting the company to post
earnings of 39 cents a share, before items, on revenue of
$197.6 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Backlog for Astec, which competes with companies such as
Granite Construction (GVA.N), URS Corp URS.N and Jacobs
Engineering Group (JEC.N), grew 5 percent to $139.7 million as
on June 30.
Shares of Chattanooga, Tennessee-based Astec were trading
up 7 percent at $28.42 Tuesday afternoon on Nasdaq.
(Reported by Rachel Chitra and Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore;
Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal, Roshni Menon)