MIKE OBEL

OXFORD, Conn. (AP) ¿ RBC Bearings Inc. said Wednesday its fiscal fourth-quarter profit fell 46 percent on soft demand for ball bearings from many of its industrial customers but results still beat analyst expectations.

Net income for the three months ended March 28 of $6.5 million, or 30 cents per share, compared with a profit of $12 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier.

The latest quarter's profit was hurt by $3.1 million in various one-time charges. Excluding those charges, RBC's adjusted profit was $9.6 million, or 44 cents per share. Analysts, whose estimates typically exclude one-time charges, expected 38 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

"RBC is on a roll in terms of cost takeout and positioning for future growth," Barrington Research Associates analyst Walter Liptak said of the results. "Our concern is about the weak economy and what might happen to volumes."

Net sales fell 9 percent to $83.8 million from $92.1 million. A sales decrease of 28 percent in RBC Bearing's industrial business was partly offset by a nearly 7 percent increase in its aerospace and defense segments.

Wall Street expected $85 million in sales.

For the full fiscal year, the company earned $34.5 million, or $1.58 per share, down about 14 percent from a profit of $40.2 million, or $1.84 per share, in fiscal 2008. Excluding one-time items, RBC Bearing's full-year adjusted profit was $40.4 million, compared with $40.8 million in the previous year. Net sales rose 7.6 percent to $355.8 million from $330.6 million.

For fiscal 2010, RBC Bearing Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Hartnett expects the industrial sector to remain soft. However, he said the company's "solid position in the aerospace and defense markets will certainly offset some of this decline."

Shares of RBC Bearings rose $1.11, or 6.2 percent, to $19.06 in afternoon trading.
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