Maple Plain-based Proto Labs, which went public through an initial public offering (IPO) early last year, saw shares of its stock rise to a record high Wednesday, after it reported a nearly 400 percent increase in profits during the fourth quarter.
 
For the quarter that ended December 31, net income totaled a record $7.4 million, or 29 cents per share, up from $1.5 million during the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue for the quarter rose 31 percent to a record $33.6 million.
 
On news of the strong earnings that were announced early Wednesday morning, shares rose 25.8 percent to close at a record $52.82. They were trading down 6.3 percent early Thursday afternoon at $49.48.
 
Proto Labs is a quick-turn manufacturer of custom parts that are used in a variety of industries.
 
During the company’s earnings call, Proto Labs Chief Financial Officer John Judd told investors that increases in revenue were driven by both the addition of new customers and increased orders from existing customers.
 
CEO Brad Cleveland told investors that the company saw sales rise to a record high in each of the three regions where it operates—the United States, Japan, and Europe. Last fall, the company added 2,991 new customers to create a customer base of more than 7,700, Cleveland said.
 
Cleveland and Judd said that the company is looking to increase its production capacity in the United States. It will solidify those plans by the end of the second quarter.
 
For all of 2012, net income totaled $24 million, or 98 cents per share, up 160 percent from Proto Labs’ profit of $9.3 million in 2011. Revenue for the year totaled $126 million, up 27 percent from $98.9 million.
 
Founded in 1999, Proto Labs is among Minnesota’s 65-largest public companies based on revenue. Its successful IPO last February was welcome news for Minnesota, as the state’s IPO activity has been sluggish in recent years amid economic uncertainty.
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