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Like a wet Gremlin,

Rockwell International

(ROK) - Get Rockwell Automation, Inc. Report

is about to split in two. The electronics control and communications company announced that it would spin off its

Rockwell Collins

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unit, which produces electronics for the aviation industry, thereby cleaving the company into two publicly traded entities.

"As standalone, world renowned companies with leading market positions and outstanding employees, we believe these businesses will be better able to enhance their strategic positions, serve their customers and create value for their shareholders," Don Davis, Rockwell's chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

"Through separating out automation and avionics and communications businesses," Davis added, "we believe that each company will make decisions more quickly, deploy resources more rapidly and efficiently, and operate with greater agility."

Davis will remain head of Rockwell International, which will have annual revenue of $4.5 billion. Rockwell Collins will have annual revenue of $3.1 billion. Clay Jones, the current president of Rockwell Collins, will become its first chairman and chief executive.

Shareholders will receive on share in the new company for every Rockwell International share they hold.

Rockwell also said that earnings per share in the first quarter of 2001 would come in between 65 and 70 cents a share, which is in line with the consensus estimate of 68 cents a share. The company also said that 2001 full-year earnings would come in at the high end of a $3.10 to $3.20 range, better than the consensus estimate of $3.11.