Eaton 4Q net income drops by half on charges

Eaton posts 50 percent drop in 4th-quarter net income on acquisition charges, drop in demand

Associated Press

CLEVELAND (AP) -- Diversified manufacturer Eaton Corp. said Tuesday its fourth-quarter net income fell by half, pulled down by hefty acquisition expenses and lower demand from its existing customers.

The profit fell short of Wall Street expenses and the Cleveland-based company issued weak guidance for the current quarter and full year.

Eaton earned $179 million, or 46 cents per share, for the October -December period, down from $362 million, or $1.07 per share, a year earlier. Excluding charges related to the company's acquisition of Cooper Industries plc, which closed during the recent quarter, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of 82 cents per share.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $4.33 billion from $4 billion, as contributions from Cooper offset lower demand from existing customers.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 92 cents per share on $4.18 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company said that weaker-than-expected demand, which it expects to continue into 2013, resulted in restructuring moves that reduced the recent quarter's profit by an additional 14 cents per share.

The company's electrical and aerospace businesses both posted small sales increases, but were offset by a 26 percent drop in sales at the company's truck business and an 8 percent decline in automotive sales.

Cooper, which the company owned for the month of December, contributed $470 million in sales.

For the full year 2012, Eaton earned $1.22 billion, or $3.46 per share, up from $1.35 billion, or $3.93 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $16.31 billion from $16.05 billion.

Eaton projected a first-quarter operating profit, which excludes acquisition related costs, to total between 70 cents and 80 cents per share. The guidance includes an inventory-related charge of 6 cents per share. Analysts expect earnings of 89 cents per share.

For the full year, the company projected operating earnings of between $4.05 and $4.45 per share, while analysts expect $4.45 per share.

Eaton shares rose $1.42, or 2.5 percent, to $58 in early trading as the broader markets also edged higher.

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