* Q2 shr from cont ops $0.77 vs. $0.52 expected
* Q2 revenue $1.16 bln
* Sees 2010 EPS $2.60 to $2.90
* Shares rise to two-year high
(Adds CEO comment, stock reaction)
NEW YORK, April 28 Rockwell Automation Inc
(ROK.N), which makes systems to boost factory efficiency,
posted higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Wednesday and
raised its full-year profit forecast above Wall Street
estimates, and shares rose 2 percent.
Demand was bouncing back from "an unusually depressed"
level since plants cut spending so deeply in the middle of
2009, Chief Executive Keith Nosbusch said in an interview.
"Part of the strength we're seeing is just pent-up demand
for replacing the normal wear and tear on machines," Nosbusch
said, adding that he thought mature economies were still early
in their recovery cycle.
Demand from later-cycle, capital-intensive projects, such
as those that drive sales of Rockwell's control products, will
likely not accelerate for several quarters.
"We'll start seeing that in our second half, but certainly
in '11," Nosbusch said.
Rockwell shares rose 89 cents to $62.16 in morning trading
on the New York Stock Exchange after rising as high as $63.90.
At their highs of the year, shares reached their best level
since January 2008.
SALES, EPS BEAT FORECASTS
Net earnings for the second quarter ended March 31 rose to
$137 million, or 95 cents per share, compared with $40.6
million, or 29 cents per share, a year earlier.
Earnings from continuing operations were 77 cents per
share. Analysts, on average, had expected profit of 52 cents
per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 10 percent to $1.16 billion, also beating Wall
Milwaukee-based Rockwell, whose peers include ABB
ABBN.VX, Emerson Electric Co (EMR.N), National Instruments
Corp (NATI.O) and Ametek Inc (AME.N), said an economic recovery
is underway, with "meaningful growth in North America and
mid-teens growth in emerging Asia."
Rockwell said it expects full-year earnings of $2.60 per
share to $2.90 per share, and said full-year revenue should be
$4.65 billion to $4.8 billion, higher than the $4.55 billion
Wall Street expected. In January, it raised its full-year EPS
forecast to a range of $2 to $2.40; analysts have been looking
The new, higher range could be conservative if margins
improve significantly in the second half of the fiscal year,
said Deutsche Bank analyst Nigel Coe.
"Based on the revenue outlook, it is possible that EPS
could ultimately move into the $3-$3.30 range," Coe said in a
note to clients.
French rival Schneider Electric SA (SCHN.PA), which
competes with Rockwell in some automation markets, last week
posted a 19-percent sales increase in its industry unit.
But Swiss engineering group ABB posted weak orders and its
earnings disappointed investors. [ID:nLDE63I1AB] Another
European rival, Siemens AG (SIEGn.DE), is set to report results
(Reporting by Nick Zieminski; Editing by Derek Caney, Gerald
E. McCormick and Robert MacMillan)