Updated from 12:40 p.m. EDT
, a maker of electronic devices for industrial and aviation equipment, reported earnings Friday that surpassed Wall Street's expectations.
In a conference call with analysts, company officials predicted growth in their main business lines and said they expect no additional restructuring costs.
For the third quarter ended June 30, net income was $170 million, or 90 cents a diluted share. In the comparable quarter last year, the Milwaukee, Wis.-based company reported earnings of $150 million, or 77 cents a diluted share. Analysts polled by
First Call/Thomson Financial
had predicted earnings of 87 cents a diluted share.
Revenue was $1.82 billion compared to $1.81 billion in the comparable quarter, the company said.
Rockwell said it expects earnings for fiscal 2000 to total between $3.40 and $3.45 a share, assuming "continuation of current global business conditions and relatively stable currency rates." Analysts polled by the same research firm predict annual earnings of $3.42 a diluted share.
"Anytime you're making a projection, there's some uncertainty," said W. Michael Barnes, the company's chief financial officer, speaking to analysts in a conference call. "Our plan and expectation is that volume and automation will be some better in the fourth quarter."
He said that prediction includes net gains from the second and third quarters, as well as one-time gains.
Rockwell International finished up 3 1/8, or 9%, at 37 5/16.
Once a giant of the defense industry, Rockwell continues to reconfigure its business. The company sold its aerospace and defense operations to
and spun off its automotive unit as
and its semiconductor unit as
. Domestic sales account for about 80% of its business. The company's remaining restructuring efforts are ambitious: Rockwell has said it intends to cut cycle time and inventory by 50%, reduce floor space by 25% and cut costs and defects by 30% apiece in the next four to six years.
In the quarter, the automation division reported sales of $1.142 billion, which is $8 million more than in the comparable quarter. Avionics and communications sales were $631 million, a gain of $12 million.
But the air transport systems business, a portion of the avionics division, declined 7%.
"The systems business was down a little more compared to the same quarter last year," Barnes said. "But it was not down -- in fact it was a little better -- on a sequential basis."
Expenses were significantly reduced thanks to a $28 million gain from the demutualization of
Metropolitan Life Insurance
. But the automation division took a $15 million charge and the company endured a $5 million equity loss due to
, an e-commerce spinoff that raised $25 million in outside financing.
In the quarter, sales in electronic commerce and the science center fell $8 million at $47 million.
Barnes criticized analysts for continuing to focus scrutiny on the company's e-commerce operations, noting that Wall Street hardly discusses the results from much larger business segments.
"I don't think it's necessary to keep quantifying what we're spending on our e-commerce initiatives," he said. "At this point, I don't plan to talk about it any more, because why would you?"
Earlier this year, the company created
, a separate business that will market licensing rights for items such as computer chips or a process used to create a sophisticated coating for glass. As it places increased emphasis on selling ideas in addition to electronics products, the company has filed four lawsuits to protect its technology.