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Rockwell 2Q Profit Up 21% On Sales; Outlook Raised

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Rockwell Automation Inc.'s (ROK) fiscal second-quarter profit rose 21% on double-digit revenue growth in the company's two main segments. Results beat analysts' expectations, and the company raised the bottom end of its 2011 earnings forecast by 10 cents to $4.40 to $4.60 a share. It also lifted its revenue outlook to $5.7 billion to $5.8 billion, up from its February projection of $5.5 billion to $5.7 billion. The maker of factory-automation equipment and software is seeing conditions improve, especially on results from operations in China and India. "Our strong revenue performance in the first half, continued strength in the industrial sector and an increased tailwind from currency are positives as we enter the third quarter," Chairman and Chief Executive Keith Nosbusch said. "However, events such as the earthquake in Japan and unrest in the Middle East and North Africa have added uncertainty to the global macroeconomic environment." For the quarter ended March 31, Rockwell posted a profit of $166.4 million, or $1.14 a share, up from $137 million, or 95 cents a share, a year earlier. Revenue rose 26% to $1.46 billion, 2 percentage points of which came from favorable currency effects. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a per-share profit of $1.12 on $1.41 billion in revenue. Gross margin narrowed to 39.4% from 40.6%. Revenue rose 21% in the company's architecture and software business, while its larger control-products unit posted a 30% sales jump. Shares closed Tuesday at $97.84 and were inactive premarket. The stock has gained 60% over the past 12 months. -By Drew FitzGerald, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2909;

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