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viewAcuity Brands, Inc.

Acuity Brands' Q4 revenue up 12%, sees "modest" market growth

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Lighting fixtures maker Acuity Brands (NYSE:AYI) said Wednesday that fourth-quarter revenues beat market estimates helped by an increase in unit volume in North America.

Sales for the three months that ended August 31 rose 12% to $496.2 million, with net income increasing to $34.2 million, or 79 cents per share, from $27.2 million, or 62 cents per share last year. Analysts were expecting earnings of 79 cents per share on sales of $482.8 million.

Acuity Brands chairman, president and CEO, Vernon J. Nagel, said: "We continue to execute well in a challenging environment. In addition to our top-line growth, our profitability and cash flow were similarly strong even while we continued to invest heavily in a number of areas, including new products and lighting solutions, as well as key strategic acquisitions.

"We continue to focus on extending our leadership position in North America while diversifying our product portfolio and expanding our channels to market, making us much less reliant on new construction."

Acuity makes luminaires, lighting control systems and related products, and is sensitive to an increase in prices of raw materials like steel and copper, which have been rising along with other commodities.

In the fourth quarter, gross profit margin declined 110 basis points due to higher input costs and Acuity said it expects to invest $40 million in capital expenditures in fiscal 2012.

Shares of the Atlanta-based company closed at $37.73 on Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. In afternoon trading, Acuity stock was up 5.8% at $39.95 Wednesday.

Fiscal 2011 net sales were $1.8 billion compared with $1.6 billion a year earlier, while net was $105.5 million, up from $79.0 million a year prior.

Looking ahead, the company said it expects the lighting market to grow "modestly" in fiscal 2012, although Acuity sees the potential for continuing volatility in customer demand.

"Looking beyond the current environment, we believe the lighting and lighting-related industry will experience solid growth over the next decade, particularly as energy and environmental concerns come to the forefront, and we believe we are well positioned to fully participate in this exciting industry," Nagel concluded.

Quick facts: Acuity Brands, Inc.

Price: 94.69 USD

NYSE:AYI
Market: NYSE
Market Cap: $3.75 billion
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