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Eagle Materials Splits Stock

Earnings and cement output will soar.
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Eagle Materials

(EXP) - Get Eagle Materials Inc. Report

declared a 3-for-1 stock split and deluged investors with positive earnings news.

The Dallas-based gypsum distributor made $39 million, or $2.20 a share, for the third quarter ended Dec. 31. That's up 51% from the year-ago $26 million, or $1.40 a share. Revenue surged 41% from a year ago to $212 million.

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Eagle also said it would make around $2.10 a share for the fourth quarter ending in March and $8.60 or so for the year. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were looking for $1.93 for the third quarter, $1.73 for the fourth and $7.98 for the year.

If that's not enough, the company offered sky-high 2007 guidance as well, saying it expects to make $11.50 a presplit share where analysts wanted a paltry $9.30.

Eagle additionally set plans to increase cement capacity by half, boost its dividend by 75% and buy back a million shares.

The company said Eagle it will spend $320 million to expand and modernize its Mountain Cement plant in Laramie, Wyo., and its Nevada Cement plant in Fernley, Nev. Both projects are expected to be operational in fall 2008.

The 3-for-1 stock split will be paid in the form of a 200% stock dividend, payable Feb. 24 to stockholders of record Feb. 10. The company will also pay a 17.5-cent postsplit quarterly dividend, up from a dime on a postsplit equivalent basis now.

On Wednesday, Eagle -- whose shares have risen 70% over the last year and are near a 52-week high -- slipped $1.02 to $128.97.