CLEVELAND (AP) — Eaton Corp.'s fourth-quarter net income surged 33 percent, and the diversified industrial manufacturer boosted its dividend and announced a 2-for-1 stock split Thursday.
The company earned $280 million, or $1.63 per share, for the three-month period ending Dec. 31 on sales of $3.7 billion, up 17 percent.
Excluding charges, the company earned $1.69 per share, beating analyst forecast of $1.67. Eaton says its now boosting its dividend by 17 percent to 68 cents per share.
In the fourth quarter of 2009, Eaton earned $211 million, or $1.25 per share, on sales of $3.1 billion.
For the year, Eaton earned $929 million, or $5.46 per share, on sales of $13.7 billion, up from 2009 net income of $383 million, or $2.27 per share, on sales of $11.9 billion.
In recent days Eaton shares have traded at the upper end of a 52-week range of $60.83 to $106.75. Shares fell in early trading but rebounded by late morning and were up 9 cents to $104.70.
Eaton, which makes hydraulic and transmission systems for the auto and space industries and military, saw bookings rise 36 percent for the quarter.
"Our full year 2010 sales growth of 16 percent reflects a rebound from the depressed market levels of 2009 and our 30 percent growth in revenues from developing countries," said Alexander M. Cutler, Eaton chairman and chief executive officer.
"We are pleased with the momentum we see in our businesses and with the strong incremental earnings we have been able to generate from the additional sales volume."
In a conference call with analysts, Cutler said the company has wide-ranging momentum heading into 2011. "We did have higher end markets in the fourth quarter," he said.
"And the good news is we think that momentum is carrying into 2011 and it's virtually across the board in our businesses and our geographies."
Cutler forecast record operating earnings per share for 2011 between $7 and $7.60.
He estimated that Eaton markets will grow 8 percent in 2011, with increases in all six of its segment. That would be the first time since 2006 that markets in all segments grew.
Eaton increased its quarterly dividend from 58 cents per share to 68 cents and said the stock split would be effective at the close of business Feb. 28.