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Pentair's 1Q outlook disappoints, shares slip

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Pentair Ltd. on Tuesday posted a wider fourth-quarter loss due to costs from its recently completed tie-up with the flow-control business of Tyco International. The company also issued a first-quarter financial outlook that fell short of Wall Street's expectations, and its shares fell nearly 3 percent.

The joint company was officially formed on Sept. 28, the day before its third quarter ended. Tyco and Pentair announced the $4.5 billion deal in March as part of Tyco's plan to split into three separate companies. Pentair changed its name to Pentair Ltd. from Pentair Inc., and Tyco shareholders now own a majority stake in the 30,000-employee company. Pentair is incorporated in Switzerland, with its main offices in Minneapolis.

Pentair reported a loss of $273.1 million, or $1.31 per share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31. In the same quarter a year earlier, Pentair posted a loss of $174.5 million, or $1.77 per share.

Excluding one-time items such as costs related to the Tyco transaction, Pentair reported earnings of 47 cents per share, compared with 56 cents per share in the same quarter a year ago.

On that basis, Pentair topped the consensus estimate of analysts surveyed by FactSet, who expected 44 cents per share, on average.

Boosted by the addition of Tyco's business, sales more than doubled to $1.75 billion from $865.7 million. Analysts had expected revenue of nearly $1.82 billion, on average.

Many of Pentair's markets "faced some softness in the latter half of 2012," said Pentair Chairman and CEO Randall Hogan. But the company "continued to deliver on the elements within our control, notably price and productivity."

Adjusted for the Flow Control acquisition, sales at Pentair's water and fluid solutions segment grew 1 percent to $771 million, while the valves and controls business posted a 3 percent gain to $547 million. Technical solutions sales rose 1 percent to $434 million.

Pentair said it expects adjusted first-quarter earnings of 54 cents to 56 cents per share on revenue of about $1.8 billion. Those forecasts are short of the expectations of analysts, who forecast 69 cents per share on revenue of $1.87 billion.

Shares of Pentair fell $1.39 to $51.45 in late trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $36.04 to $53.36.