Metals News
UPDATE 2-Cooper Sees Price Hikes Offsetting Inflation
industry news
Mar 2,2011

NEW YORK, March 1 (Reuters) - Electrical products maker Cooper Industries (CBE.N) said all of its divisions were raising prices in the first few months of 2011 to offset higher prices of steel, copper and other commodities.

The maker of power and lighting systems for utility, industrial and residential markets said it was raising prices by 3 percent to 7 percent across its divisions.

Raw material costs would be a "headwind" in the first quarter but would be neutral over 2011 as a whole, especially if prices stabilize, executives told an analyst meeting on Tuesday.

"This is our main area of concern as we look at margins in the future," said Chief Financial Officer Dave Barta, who noted 2010 was the first year in a decade that prices did not keep up with cost inflation. "We're hopeful pricing will be more achievable than it was last year."

Cooper gets the bulk of its sales from the United States. It said U.S. commercial construction, which has been depressed by tight credit and high unemployment, will turn positive late this year or early in 2012.

The company, which also makes safety and wiring devices, reaffirmed its 2011 sales and profit forecast, which calls for sales growing 6 percent to 9 percent and earnings per share of $3.60 to $3.80, surpassing the 2008 peak. It earned $3.20 a share in 2010.

The company will benefit from rising demand for energy and for better energy efficiency, and from expected upgrades to the U.S. utility grid, executives said.

Cooper, which has completed 34 deals in seven years, is also looking for mid-size and large acquisitions within its industrial and utility markets.

Cooper shares were down 46 cents to $63.89 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.



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