Eaton 's Third-Quarter Earnings Jump, But Growth Expected To Slow

Expects slowdown in residential construction market for electrical products, North American and Brazilian automotive production, and Brazilian agricultural equipment production.

CLEVELAND (AP) - Industrial parts and systems manufacturer Eaton Corp. Monday said its third-quarter profit rose 25 percent due to strong sales in its fluid power and electrical segments, but the company lowered its forecast for the fourth quarter and the full year.

Eaton, which makes electrical and hydraulic parts and systems for the automotive, truck and aircraft markets, reported earnings of $248 million, or $1.62 per share for the quarter ended Sept. 30 compared with profits of $199 million, or $1.30 a share, a year ago. Sales rose to $3.12 billion from $2.77 billion.

Discounting charges stemming from integrating acquisitions, Eaton earned $1.65 in the quarter compared with a $1.33 a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of $1.59 a share.

Eaton said it expects to earn between $1.45 and $1.55 per share in the fourth quarter, or $1.50 to $1.60 excluding acquisition charges. Analysts predicted a profit of $1.59 per share.

The company also narrowed its guidance for the full year to between $6.07 and $6.17, or $6.23 to $6.33 excluding acquisition charges. The company previously forecast between $5.90 and $6.20 per share for the year, including acquisition charges. Analysts anticipated $6.25 per share.

''We expect the growth rate in our overall end markets to weaken slightly in the fourth quarter,'' said Alexander Cutler, the company's chairman and chief executive. ''While the nonresidential electrical and hydraulics markets remain strong, and the heavy-duty truck market should post a strong finish to the year, markets likely to weaken during the quarter are the residential construction market for our electrical products, North American and Brazilian automotive production, and Brazilian agricultural equipment production.''

Eaton said last week it plans to close its Mantua hydraulics hose plant in northeast Ohio, and it will move about 115 of 193 jobs there to a factory in nearby Aurora and the rest to Reynosa, Mexico. The Aurora plant, which now has 161 employees, will lose 52 jobs to Mexico.

The Portage County plants were part of Eaton's April purchase of the Synflex business unit of Saint-Gobain Performance Plastics Corp.

Cleveland-based Eaton has about 60,000 employees and sells products in more than 125 countries, with locations in the United States, Europe, China, India, Japan, Korea, Singapore and Australia.

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