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Gibraltar shares soar on strong 4Q earnings

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) -- Gibraltar Industries hit a four-year high in trading Friday after the building and industrial products manufacturer topped Wall Street expectations and issued an optimistic outlook.

While revenue edged lower, it still beat out the expectations of analysts who saw the debt crisis in Europe as a drag on growth. President Henning Kornbrekke pointed out that only 7 percent of the company's sales are derived from Europe.

The Buffalo, N.Y. company posted a loss of $3.9 million, or 13 cents per share, compared with a loss of $6.6 million, or 22 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding one-time items, the company posted an adjusted profit of 5 cents per share.

Revenue edged down less than 1 percent to $172.6 million from $174.1 million, hurt by a continued sluggish economic environment especially in Europe.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 3 cents per share on $172.5 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company's industrial business such as bridge and highway work was helped by federal transportation funding for infrastructure projects. Its business related to residential and low-rise buildings continued to be soft in pockets.

For the full year 2012, Gibraltar earned $12.6 million, or 41 cents per share, down from $16.5 million, or 54 cents per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $790.1 million from $766.6 million.

Gibraltar expects its revenue to grow in 2013, helped by recent acquisitions that have expanded its geographic presence and product offerings. The company said it has taken steps to cut costs, which should help boost profits this year.

In morning trading, Gibraltar shares rose $1, or 6 percent, to $18.01, after peaking at $20 earlier in the day and easily passing their previous 52-week high of $18.34. The jump marked the company's highest stock price since the fall of 2008.