UPDATE 1-Esco Q4 beats Street, sees 10-15 pct growth in 2011

Thu Nov 11, 2010 5:20pm EST

* Q4 EPS $0.89 vs est $0.81

* Sales $207.9 mln vs est $190.9 mln

* Sees FY 2011 EPS, sales up 10-15 pct

Nov 11 (Reuters) - Esco Technlogies Inc (ESE.N), a supplier of metering applications and instruments for electric, gas and water utilities, posted quarterly results above estimates, helped by higher international sales and strength at its Utility Solutions Group unit.

The company expects 2011 earnings of $1.85-$1.93 a share, on sales of $668.3-$698.6 million, a 10-15 percent growth from 2010.

Analysts on an average were expecting 2011 earnings of $1.92 a share, on revenue of $640.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Esco said its Aclara unit is expected to sign a definitive agreement with Sempra Energy's (SRE.N) Southern California Gas Co (SoCalGas) for an Advanced Metering Infrastructure project contract during mid fiscal 2011.

For July-September, the company earned $23.9 million, or 89 cents a share, compared with $21.8 million, or 82 cents a share, a year ago.

Sales rose 23 percent to $207.9 million. Utility Solutions Group segment sales, which accounts for 60 percent of total revenue, rose 23 percent to $123.4 million.

Analysts on average were expecting earnings of 81 cents a share, on sales of $190.9 million.

The company, which competes with Itron (ITRI.O), said entered orders in the quarter were $161.8 million, bringing total orders in 2010 to $668.8 million.

Shares of the company closed at $36.46 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange. The stock has gained 19 percent over the last three months. (Reporting by Soham Chatterjee in Bangalore; Editing by Vinu Pilakkott)

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