Acuity Brands 1Q net income rises on higher prices

Acuity Brands 1st-quarter net income climbs 23 percent partly on higher prices

Associated Press

ATLANTA (AP) -- Acuity Brands Inc.'s fiscal first-quarter profit climbed 23 percent as the lighting maker's sales improved in part because of higher prices. That beat Wall Street expectations, and its shares rose more than 7 percent in morning trading Monday.

Like many companies, Acuity has raised prices to help offset some of the burden of rising costs.

The company said that it took a special charge in the quarter for costs related to "a modest reduction in workforce," and cautioned that it is still looking at other potential actions that may result in more charges during the fiscal year.

A call to the company for how many jobs were being cut was not immediately returned.

Acuity, which is based in Atlanta, sells lights under brands including Synergy Lighting Controls, Lithonia Lighting, Holophane and Gotham.

The company reported net income of $29.9 million, or 70 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 30, up from $24.4 million, or 56 cents per share, a year earlier.

Taking out a special pretax charge of $2.7 million related to severance and employee benefit costs for the job cuts, earnings were 74 cents per share.

This beat the 66 cents per share that analysts polled by FactSet expected.

Revenue increased 12 percent to $474.3 million from $425 million, helped by higher volumes, acquisitions.

Wall Street expected revenue of $463.5 million.

Acuity Chairman, President and CEO Vernon Nagel said in a statement that there will likely be ongoing volatility in customer demand and commodity costs during the fiscal year.

Its shares rose $3.70, or 7.4 percent, to $54.02 in morning trading. Its shares are up 63 percent from their 52-week low of $33.13 in early October. The shares traded as high as $61.45 in early April.

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