* Third-quarter profit ex items $0.64, 1 cent ahead of forecasts
* Strong dollar weighs on sales
* Affirms 2015 profit forecast
* Merger with Tyco flow control complicates Q4 outlook
By Nick Zieminski
Nov 1 (Reuters) - Pentair Ltd reported a higher-than-expected profit on Thursday in a report that does not yet include results from the Tyco International Ltd flow control business, which merged with the company last month.
Pentair, which makes water treatment systems and thermal controls, reported net earnings of $30.4 million, or 30 cents per share, down from $51.1 million, or 51 cents per share, a year earlier.
Excluding items, Pentair earned 64 cents a share, 1 cent ahead of Wall Street's estimate, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Sales fell to $866 million from $891 million, with foreign exchange accounting for the decline.
Pentair last month merged with Tyco's former flow control unit, doubling in size and moving the company's incorporation to Switzerland. Pentair's fourth quarter will include results from both businesses.
The integration is well under way, and Pentair is on track to earn $5.00 per share by 2015, it said.
The merger complicates Pentair's forecast. The outlook for the legacy Pentair business is unchanged, while a larger share count will affect earnings per share for the combined company.
Pentair forecast fourth-quarter earnings per share of 40 cents to 45 cents. Analysts were looking for 63 cents but it was not immediately clear whether that number represented an apples-to-apples comparison.
Results were delayed two days by Hurricane Sandy.