Acuity Brands reasons positively

Acuity Brands Inc reported higher-than-expected quarterly net profit on Thursday, reflecting strength in nonresidential markets, a better product mix and higher pricing.

Net earnings rose to $34.1 million, or 82 cents per share, in the second quarter that ended Feb. 29, from $24.4 million, or 55 cents per share, a year earlier.

Analysts on average were expecting 68 cents per share.

The year-ago results included 5 cents a share in earnings from discontinued operations.

Sales rose 9 percent to $482.6 million, above forecasts of $470 million.

The company said orders in March had continued at a "positive pace" compared with a year earlier, and it expected to meet or beat its long-term financial goals during the second half of the fiscal year.

Problems in housing and credit markets could slow growth in nonresidential construction, Acuity said, but interest-rate cuts and government stimulus measures would have a positive effect.

Acuity Brands, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the design, production, and distribution of lighting equipment and specialty products worldwide. The company was founded in 2001 and is based in Atlanta, Georgia.

Lighting equipment includes indoor and outdoor lighting fixtures for commercial and institutional, industrial, infrastructure, and residential applications. The company offers its lighting equipments to electrical distributors, retail home improvement centers, national accounts, electric utilities, utility distributors, municipalities, contractors, catalogs, and lighting showrooms.

It distributes these products through independent sales agents, factory sales representatives, distribution centers, regional warehouses, and commercial warehouses.