OXFORD, Conn. (AP) â¿¿ RBC Bearings Inc., which makes ball bearings for industrial and military use, said Wednesday that its fiscal fourth-quarter profit jumped by more than half, as the financial health of many of its customers improved and boosted demand for its products. For the quarter ended March 31, the Oxford, Conn.-based company earned $15.5 million, or 69 cents per share, up from $9.9 million, or 44 cents per share, in the same quarter last year. Sales jumped 25 percent to $111.3 million from $88.9 million. The results beat Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 62 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll. RBC said the business health of many of its customers continued to improve during the quarter. The company saw continued strong demand from industrial end markets, especially mining, energy and general distribution. Meanwhile, major aerospace customers also boosted production, RBC said. For the full fiscal year RBC earned $50 million, or $2.23 per share, up from $34.9 million, or $1.58 per share, the year before. Sales rose 18.4 percent, to $397.5 million. RBC shares rose 69 cents to $46.67 in midday trading.
Bank of America upgraded RBC Bearings (ROLL) to "buy" from "neutral" and set a $75 target price. The firm noted aerospace and defense demand remains strong and the worst of the industrial business is likely already behind the company.