* Adjusted profit $1.23/share vs $1.27 Wall Street view
* Revenue up 1 percent
* Holds fiscal 2013 profit forecast steady
By Scott Malone
Jan 30 Rockwell Automation Inc reported
a steeper-than-expected 12 percent drop in quarterly profit on
weak demand, particularly in China, for its systems that help
factories run more smoothly.
The U.S. manufacturer said on Wednesday that its sales had
fallen 9 percent in Asia, excluding the effects of exchange-rate
fluctuations, as some industrial customers decided to delay new
investments in equipment.
"In China, continued soft economic growth, lack of credit
availability and project delays all impacted sales," Chief
Executive Officer Keith Nosbusch said on a conference call with
Earnings fell to $161.4 million, or $1.14 per share, in the
first quarter ended on Dec. 31 from $183.3 million, or $1.27 per
share, a year earlier.
Factoring out pension expenses, the profit came to $1.23 per
share, below the analysts' average target of $1.27, according to
Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue rose 1 percent to $1.49 billion from $1.47 billion.
The Milwaukee-based company did not change its full-year
profit forecast from November that called for earnings of $5.35
to $5.75 per share, a roughly 5 percent rise.
Shares of Rockwell Automation were up 0.4 percent at $90.29
in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Factoring out the effects of exchange-rate fluctuations and
acquisitions, sales in Europe, the Middle East and Africa, as
well as Canada, were down 2 percent. Sales were up 6 percent in
the United States and rose 7 percent in Latin America.
Profit margins were somewhat weaker than expected, but
reflected in part a very low rate of investment in the
prior-year quarter, said Robert W. Baird & Co senior analyst
Richard Eastman, who covers the company.
"When volume is up 1 percent, that doesn't give you a lot of
room to make up any inflation within the core business," Eastman
Rockwell's rivals include Emerson Electric Co,
Germany's Siemens AG and Japan's Mitsubishi Electric
As of Tuesday's close, Rockwell shares had risen about 17
percent over the past year, outperforming a 15 percent rise of
the Standard & Poor's 500 index.