Acuity 4Q results fall short of Wall Street's view

ATLANTA -- Acuity Brands' fiscal fourth-quarter net income fell 3 percent, pulled down by a charge and expenses related to a plant closing.

The company's performance missed Wall Street's expectations and its stock declined more than 6 percent in morning trading on Tuesday.

The lighting maker, which sells lights under brands including Holophane, Gotham and Synergy Lighting Controls, earned $33.3 million, or 78 cents per share, for the three months ended Aug. 31. That compared with $34.2 million, or 79 cents per share, a year ago.

Removing 10 cents per share tied to the closing of a plant in Cochran, Ga., adjusted earnings were 88 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of 92 cents per share, according to FactSet.

Shares of Acuity fell $4.45, or 7.1 percent, to $58.65. Over the last 52 weeks, the stock has traded between $33.13 and $69.46.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $514.3 million, from $496.2 million, thanks to higher volume, increased prices and a better mix of products.

Wall Street predicted higher revenue of $521.9 million.

Sales of LED-based products climbed more than two and a half times over the prior-year period and made up about 12 percent of the quarter's total sales.

For the full fiscal year, Acuity Brands Inc. earned $116.3 million, or $2.72 per share. In the prior year the Atlanta company earned $105.5 million, or $2.42 per share.

Adjusted earnings were $3 per share.

Annual revenue increased 8 percent to $1.93 billion from $1.8 billion.

Chairman, President and CEO Vernon Nagel said in a statement that Acuity is optimistic about its future prospects, but said it is possible for there to be ongoing volatility in demand because of the slow economic recovery in the U.S. and worldwide.

Nagel said that growth of the North American lighting market seems to have slowed in the last few months, partly because the U.S. economy is not recovering as quickly as expected. Forecasts indicate that the North American lighting market will grow at a mid-single digit rate for fiscal 2013, he added.