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Cummins revises earnings: Court ruling costs company, stock dips

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The stock of engine maker Cummins Inc. dipped 3 percent Wednesday after it restated earnings tied to what the company said was “a recent adverse court ruling” in an unspecified commercial contract squabble.

Columbus-based Cummins trimmed its previously announced fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 operating results by $20 million, with net income reduced by 7 cents per share.

The moves made a dent in Cummins’ stock price, which closed at $114.83 per share on the New York Stock Exchange. That was down $3.54 per share, or 2.99 percent.

Carole Casto, a spokeswoman for Cummins, declined to elaborate on the legal issues involved.

“The case is still in active litigation, so I’m afraid I can’t comment on the case details at this time,” Casto said via email.

Cummins’ revised fourth-quarter profit before interest and taxes was $532 million, excluding $52 million in restructuring costs. Net income was $369 million, or $1.95 per share, including 19 cents per share in restructuring costs and a one-time tax benefit of 21 cents per share, the company said.

Net income for the full year was $1.65 billion, or $8.67 per share, down from $1.85 billion, or $9.55 per share, in 2011.

“I don’t see anything that really shifts the outlook for the company in this revision,” said Cummins’ analyst Craig Kessler, who is based in Columbus.

Other analysts who follow the company said production numbers for heavy-duty truck engines, a segment hit particularly hard last year, should start to show improvements in the second quarter as truck manufacturers make more vehicles to meet rebounding demand.

“The market seems to be in the process of bottoming out ... and we are seeing better orders going forward,” said Mark Foster of Kirr Marbach brokerage in Columbus. “That should bode well for the second quarter.”

Although not tied directly to Cummins’ production numbers, Barry Kneisel, a trucking analyst with Baird Equity Research, said truck manufacturers cut production more than anticipated in January, but backlogs of orders are beginning to rise.

“In the midst of rising backlogs, we believe it is increasingly likely (manufacturers) will raise production entering the second quarter,” he wrote in a research note circulated Wednesday.

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