Watsco 4Q profit rises 28 pct.

Watsco posts 28 pct. jump in 4th-qtr profit on improved margins

Associated Press

MIAMI (AP) -- Heating and cooling company Watsco Inc. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit jumped 28 percent, as lower costs more than offset a drop in revenue.

Watsco posted a profit attributed to common shareholders of $12.1 million, or 39 cents per share, up from $9.5 million, or 31 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Analysts polled by FactSet expected a profit of 35 cents per share.

Revenue fell almost 2 percent, to $645.8 million from $657.2 million, falling short of the analyst average of $697.9 million.

Revenue at stores open at least a year fell 12 percent. The measure is considered a key gauge of a retailer's performance, because it excludes results from stores that open or close during the year.

Selling, general and administrative expenses decreased 3 percent to $128 million.

For the full year 2011, Watsco earned $84.4 million, or $2.74 per share, up from $76 million, or $2.49 per share, in 2010. Revenue rose to $2.98 billion from $2.84 billion.

Miami-based Watsco distributes heating and cooling systems, along with parts to repair them.

In afternoon trading, Watsco shares rose 81 cents to $73.01.

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