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News

Cognex Q1 Profit Rises

Cognex Corporation

Machine vision products maker Cognex Corp. (CGNX: News ), Monday said its profit for the first quarter increased from a year ago due mainly to improved margins and a modest revenue growth of 4 percent.

Robert Shillman, Chairman Cognex said, "We reported the highest first quarter revenue in Cognex's 31-year history. We were also highly profitable, reporting an operating margin of 23% and a net margin of 18%, even with our continued investments for future growth."

The company's first quarter net income grew 5 percent to $14.3 million from $13.6 million in the prior-year quarter. On a per share basis, earnings grew 2 percent to $0.33 from $0.32 in the year-ago quarter.

On average, five analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.31 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimate typically exclude one-time items.

Robert Willett, CEO of Cognex, observed, "Both revenue and earnings increased over the prior year's first quarter despite an ongoing downturn in the semiconductor and electronics capital equipment market. Our strong execution led to year-on-year growth in a range of industries including automotive, paper and consumer products."

Revenue for the quarter grew 4 percent to $77.7 million from $74.4 million in the corresponding quarter last year. Four analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $75.92 million for the quarter.

Cognex said revenue growth for the quarter was driven by the factory automation and surface inspection markets, partially offset by a decline in revenue from the semiconductor and electronics capital equipment market.

Gross margin for the quarter was 75 percent, flat with a year ago. Operating income margin was 23 percent for the quarter, which as well was flat with last year.

Cognex declared a quarterly cash dividend of $0.11 per share, payable on June 15, 2012, to all shareholders of record at June 1, 2012. The dividend indicate an increase of $0.01 per share, or 10% over the $0.10 per share dividend in the prior quarter.

Looking ahead, the company anticipates second quarter revenues in the range of $82 million to $85 million.

Analysts currently project $85.99 million for the quarter.

Cognex expects year-on-year revenue growth in factory automation and surface inspection markets, but lower revenue from the semiconductor, electronics and solar industries due to the market downturn.

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