Rockwell Automation profit jumps past Wall Street views

Tue Jul 30, 2013 10:04am EDT

(Reuters) - Rockwell Automation Inc (ROK.N), which makes systems that help factories run more smoothly, posted a quarterly profit well above analysts' forecasts on Tuesday, helped by sales increases in most of its geographic regions.

Rockwell shares rose nearly 3 percent as the Milwaukee-based company also bumped up the low end of its earnings outlook for its fiscal year, which ends on September 30.

Net income for its fiscal third quarter ended on June 30 rose to $203.7 million, or $1.45 per share, from $190.7 million, or $1.33 per share, a year ago.

Excluding one-time items, it earned $1.54 per share, topping analysts' average estimate of $1.39, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Analysts said lower-than-expected taxes helped earnings beat expectations.

Revenue climbed 4.1 percent to $1.62 billion. Analysts were looking for $1.60 billion.

Sales in Latin America jumped 23 percent to $143.3 million, ahead of analysts' targets, with the company pointing to Brazil and Mexico as strong performers.

Rockwell projected fiscal-year earnings, excluding items, of $5.50 to $5.70 per share, raising the low end from $5.40. It sees fiscal-year revenue at about $6.3 billion, representing organic growth of about 1 percent.

Analysts have been looking for earnings of $5.48 per share for the year, on sales of $6.41 billion.

Rockwell in April cut its fiscal year sales forecast to a range of $6.25 billion to $6.45 billion after reporting a drop in second-quarter revenue.

Rockwell shares rose 2.8 percent to $93.09 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

Through Monday, the shares had underperfomed those of many large, multi-line manufacturers this year, rising 7.8 percent compared to more robust gains by rival companies.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe, Maureen Bavdek and John Wallace)

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