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Scientific-Atlanta soars past estimates in 4Q

    Scientific-Atlanta easily hurdled the Street estimate in its fourth quarter Thursday, raking in $59.1 million, or 35 cents a share, on sales of $552.6 million.

    First Call Corp. consensus expected the maker of digital set-top boxes to earn 27 cents a share in the quarter.

    Scientific-Atlanta (NYSE: SFA) shares closed off 2 7/8 to 74 1/8 ahead of the earnings report.

    The $552.6 million in sales marks a 56 percent improvement from the year-ago quarter when it earned $47.3 million, or 30 cents a share, on sales of $355.2 million.

    "I'm pleased that every part of our business is performing well," said CEO James McDonald in a prepared release. "Our Transmission business has enjoyed rapid growth for six consecutive quarters. Subscriber sales are accelerating as cable operators expand their deployments."

    For the fiscal year, it earned $155.8 million, or 94 cents a share, on sales of $1.72 billion compared to a profit of $102.3 million, or 65 cents a share, on sales of $1.24 billion in fiscal 1999.

    Last quarter, Scientific-Atlanta topped analysts' estimates, earning $38.1 million, or 23 cents a share, on sales of $440.7 million.

    Its shares moved up to a 52-week high of 90 3/8 earlier this month after hitting a low of 16 7/8 last July.

    Thirteen of the 16 analysts following the stock rate it either a "buy" or "strong buy."

    Analysts are expecting a profit of $1.13 a share in fiscal 2001.