January 28, 2010 / 4:49 PM / in 8 years

Celestica shares climb on growth forecast

* Stock peaks at C$11.13 on TSX, up 5.5 pct

* Sees Q1 rev $1.45-$1.6 bln, EPS $0.15-$0.21

* Analysts had forecast rev at $1.42 bln, EPS $0.14

OTTAWA, Jan 28 (Reuters) - Celestica Inc (CLS.TO) (CLS.N) shares touched a three-year high on Thursday, lifted by sturdy quarterly results and an optimistic outlook for its contract electronics manufacturing.

Celestica, whose biggest customer is BlackBerry-maker Research In Motion Ltd RIM.TO, reported its fourth-quarter results after markets closed on Wednesday, coming in at the high end of its guidance, and forecast improving demand.

Its shares jumped 5.5 percent to peak at C$11.13 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Thursday morning, before edging back to C$10.63, for a gain of 9 Canadian cents. In New York, the stock hit a high of $10.50 before slipping back to $9.91.

Celestica’s focus on profitable customers appears to be paying off, said Deutsche Bank analyst Sherri Scribner, with operating margins maintained at above 3.5 percent.

Celestica said it expects first-quarter revenue of $1.45 billion to $1.6 billion. If it meets that target, it will be the first time since 2005 that the company shows year-over-year revenue growth in its first quarter.

The Toronto-based company also forecast adjusted earnings of 15 cents to 21 cents per share in the same period.

Analysts had expected revenue of $1.42 billion and earnings of 14 cents a share, on average, said Scribner in a note on Thursday.

Scribner hiked her earnings and revenue estimates for both 2010 and 2011 and lifted her stock target to $11 from $10, while maintaining a “hold” rating.

RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani also lifted his target to $11 from $10, saying Celestica “continues to execute well”.

In its fourth quarter, Celestica said it saw growth in five of its six markets, with consumer, storage and server units particularly strong.

One of the five largest contract electronics manufacturers in the world by revenue, Celestica said demand was improving in the current quarter and that is expected to continue across its major markets with new and existing customers.

Of the 15 analysts that track Celestica, eight rate the stock a “hold”, five recommend “buy”, and two rate it a “strong buy”.

$1=$1.06 Canadian Reporting by Susan Taylor; editing by Rob Wilson

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