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Acuity 1Q profit drops 13 pct, shares slide

ATLANTA (AP) -- Lighting maker Acuity Brands' fiscal first-quarter net income fell 13 percent, due to the cost of closing a Georgia plant, a "lull" in the construction market and the absence of a year-ago benefit.

CEO Vernon Nagel also said Tuesday that Acuity expects "inconsistent" demand to continue in the current quarter, which ends in February, as wary customers watch uncertainty in the global economy and ongoing budget fights in Washington. The company hopes for "more stable" demand in spring and summer.

Shares of Acuity slid 6 percent, or $4.17, to $64.80 in morning trading Tuesday.

The company, which sells lights under brands including Hydrel, Tersen and Synergy Lighting Controls, earned $26.1 million, or 61 cents per share, for the three months ended Nov. 30. That's down from $29.9 million, or 70 cents per share, a year earlier. The year-ago period included a currency-related gain of 4 cents per share, which didn't occur again in the more recent quarter.

Removing special charges and temporary expenses, earnings were 69 cents per share.

Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings of 81 cents per share.

Revenue rose 1 percent to $481.1 million from $474.3 million mostly on higher volume, but missed Wall Street's $499 million forecast.