Topic: How To Invest

Stock market picks: Foreign-exchange losses weigh on Aastra’s results

Aastra Technologies, symbol AAH on Toronto, develops and markets products and systems for accessing communication networks, including the Internet. Its technology is centered around business telephone systems, and includes products that integrate traditional and mobile phones.

Aastra is one of the aggressive stock market picks we analyze in our Stock Pickers Digest newsletter.

The company reports that its sales fell 4.9%, in the three months ended March 31, 2011, to $162.7 million from $171.1 million a year earlier. Earnings fell sharply, to $200,000, or $0.01 a share, from $4.1 million, or $0.29 a share, a year earlier.

The earnings decline resulted from foreign-exchange losses of $1.9 million in the latest quarter, mainly due to continued weakness in the euro and U.S. dollar. In addition, the company recorded a gain of $2.7 million on the sale of a product line in the first quarter of 2010.

Aastra gets three quarters of its sales from Europe. The weaker European economy has hurt demand for the company’s products, and forced it to cut its prices. Aastra needs a sustained European economic recovery to show significantly higher sales and earnings.

Aastra holds cash of $83.3 million, or $5.91 a share, and has no long-term debt.

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