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A teller at a customized mobile telephone service provider transacts through on the Internet in Nairobi in this 2006 file photo. (TONY KARUMBA/TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)
A teller at a customized mobile telephone service provider transacts through on the Internet in Nairobi in this 2006 file photo. (TONY KARUMBA/TONY KARUMBA/AFP/Getty Images)

Eye on Equities

TD cuts price target on Aastra as earnings disappoint Add to ...

Aastra Technologies Ltd. is facing challenging times in the voice communications market as its latest quarterly financial results clearly demonstrate. The third-quarter results featured weaker-than-expected sales and gross margins, with foreign exchange losses and industry pricing pressure not helping matters, said TD Newcrest analyst Chris Umiastowski. Earnings per share came in at three cents, far below Street estimates of 48 cents.

Chalk some of this up to the precarious economic conditions in many European countries where Aastra competes, a situation that will remain difficult as some governments begin to remove stimulus measures. "However, the company has had success bidding on some greenfield projects, particularly in Germany, and management sounds cautiously optimistic for the fourth quarter," said Mr. Umiastowski.

Aastra plans to launch products in 2011 to address growth opportunities that leverage new avenues of communication - possibly including video conferencing, he said. "However, the enterprise communications market typically moves slowly, and we do not anticipate new technologies making a significant impact on Aastra's business for some time," said Mr. Umiastowski.

Downside: Mr. Umiastowski, who reduced his revenue estimates and gross margin forecasts on the stock, cut his price target to $26 from $30.

Analysts at Wellington West Capital Markets Inc. are feeling more confident that International Minerals Corp. can generate sustainable cash flow in coming years after visiting the company's Pallancata and Inmaculada projects in Peru. Exploration at both sites has been successful, with good potential for resource expansion.

Upside: Wellington West hiked its 12-month price target on the stock to $6.10 from $5.25.

Orezone Gold Corp. announced a 27-per-cent increase in total gold resources at its Bombore project in Burkina Faso, to 3.5 million ounces, noted Canaccord Genuity analyst Nicholas Campbell. The average grade of the resource has increased 48 per cent from the previous resource estimate.

Upside: Mr. Campbell raised his target on the stock to $3.25 from $2.85, maintaining his "speculative buy" recommendation.

SXC Health Solutions Corp. , which provides software solutions to the healthcare industry, announced a three-year, $720-million contract with an undisclosed large health plan. It's the second largest contract in the company's history and "we continue to see SXC's competitive win rate accelerating," said Versant Partners analyst Tom Liston.

Upside: Mr. Liston hiked his 12-month target by $4 to $43 and maintained his buy recommendation.

Extorre Gold Mines Ltd. released results of a preliminary economic assessment for its 95-per-cent owned Cerro Moro gold-silver project in Argentina. The study forecasts production of 436,000 ounces of gold and 21.4 million ounces of silver over an eight-year mine life, and "outlines a robust open-pit/underground mine that is more than sufficient to support development based on the current mineral inventory," said TD Newcrest analyst Daniel Earle.

Upside: Mr. Earle hiked his 12-month target price by 50 cents to $8 a share and reiterated his "speculative buy" recommendation.

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