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Rockwell's earnings soar

Rockwell International's profits for continuing operations jump more than 37 percent--excluding one-time acquisition charges.

Rockwell International (ROK), a former aerospace and defense giant that is focusing on such areas as high-speed PCs and fax-modem chipsets, today reported that year-end profits for continuing operations jumped more than 37 percent--excluding one-time acquisition charges.

Rockwell reported income from continuing operations reached $676 million, or $3.11 per share, for the year ending September 30, up from $493 million, or $2.27 a share, the year before.

Wall Street analysts had been expecting $3.54 per share, according to First Call.

The company, including discontinued and continuing operations along with special charges, reported net earnings of $726 million for the year, down from $742 million a year ago.

Meanwhile, sales from continuing operations increased 14 percent to $10.4 billion for the year, up from $9.1 billion the previous year.

Rockwell's semiconductor systems business, which encompasses high-speed PCs and chipsets for modems and fax machines, had the best fourth-quarter earnings growth among the company's five business lines.

Semiconductor systems, which accounted for 15.3 percent of Rockwell's year-end sales, saw its operating profits rise 55 percent to $293 million in the fourth quarter, compared with $219 million a year ago.

And its year-end operating earnings were nearly three times higher at $330 million, compared with a year earlier.

Sales for the business unit nearly doubled to $404 million for the quarter, compared with the previous year. And for year's end, it jumped 82 percent to $1.6 billion, compared with a year ago.

"Our fourth-quarter results again demonstrate the earnings growth potential of our continuing businesses," said Donald Beall, chairman and chief executive, in a statement.

Earlier this year, Rockwell announced that it would sell its aerospace and defense business to Boeing. The company's main business lines, after the sale is completed, will include automation, avionics, communication, and automotive and semiconductor systems.