, a diversified engineering products supplier, said its fourth-quarter earnings doubled from the year-ago period, helped by acquisition-led revenue growth.
The company earned $50.4 million, or 57 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $24.8 million, or 32 cents a share, a year ago. Fourth quarter earnings include $4 million benefit from special items. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $44.35 million, or 50 cents a share in the most recent quarter.
Fourth-quarter revenue rose 42.2% from a year ago to $393.2 million. Analysts were expecting revenue of $391.2 million in the most recent quarter.
The company expects full year 2006 earnings of $180 million and above, or $1.95 a share to $2.07 a share, including option expense. It expects to earn 37 cents a share to 40 cents a share in the first quarter. Analysts were forecasting earnings of 39 cents a share for the first quarter 2006 and $167.9 million, or $1.97 a share for the year 2006.
"We are pleased to conclude 2005 with continued record-setting performance in the fourth quarter," the company said. "All of our segments reported growth, leading to a 42% net sales increase over the same quarter last year. This reflects the benefits of our recent acquisitions. Despite unfavorable currency exchange effects that reduced internal sales growth by nearly 4%, we achieved net internal sales growth of 5% or 9% before the currency impact."
Fourth-quarter gross profit rose 42.2% to $199.1million, compared with $140.0 million, a year ago. Gross margin remained flat at 50.6%. Operating income rose 55% to $80.9 million, compared with $52.2 million, a year ago. Operating margin increased 170 basis points to 20.6%, compared with 18.9%, a year ago.
By segment, fourth-quarter revenue from instrumentation segment rose 7.5% to $68.9 million, compared with $64.1 million, a year ago. Revenue from industrial technology increased 4.6% to $106.6 million, compared with $101.9 million, a year ago. Revenue from energy systems and controls segment rose 2.9% to $46.4 million, compared with $45.1 million, a year ago. Revenue from scientific and industrial imaging segment climbed 32.3% to $66.4 million, compared with $50.2 million, a year ago. Revenue from RF technology segment increased more than five folds to $105.0 million.
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