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Badger Meter's profit falls sharply in 1Q

MILWAUKEE (AP) -- Badger Meter Inc., which makes products used by utilities, reported Tuesday that its first-quarter profit was less than half of what it was a year ago. The Milwaukee company said that the year is off to a slow start, but it expects to return to more normal patterns in coming quarters.

Badger Meter made $2.9 million, or 20 cents per share. That compares with net income of $6.2 million, or 42 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2012.

Revenue fell nearly 6 percent to $71.8 million, as weather and uncertain municipal budgets hurt sales to water utilities, which held off on new meter installation. The company's industrial sales benefited from the acquisition of Racine Federated in January of 2012.

The results fell far short of market expectations. Analysts polled by FactSet estimated earnings of 50 cents per share on revenue of $80 million.

Badger Meter also said Tuesday that it bought Aquacue Inc., a small software technology company located in Los Gatos, Calif., for $14 million in cash. The company makes water management data software used by utilities and consumers to manage water usage.

Shares of Badger Meter fell 8 percent to $48.10 in after-hours trading.