Acuity Brands Earnings: An Early Look

The new earnings season is about to begin, but a few companies on off-quarter fiscal years are just now getting around to reporting their quarterly results. Acuity Brands (NYSE: AYI  ) is about to release its quarterly earnings report. The key to making smart investment decisions with stocks releasing their quarterly reports is to anticipate how they'll do before they announce results, leaving you fully prepared to respond quickly to whatever inevitable surprises arise. That way, you'll be less likely to make an uninformed knee-jerk reaction to news that turns out to be exactly the wrong move.

Lighting may not sound like the most interesting business, but Acuity Brands has turned providing cutting-edge lights for both commercial and consumer uses into a solidly profitable enterprise. Let's take an early look at what's been happening with Acuity Brands over the past quarter and what we're likely to see in its quarterly report on Wednesday.

Stats on Acuity Brands

Analyst EPS Estimate

$0.62

Change From Year-Ago EPS

8.8%

Revenue Estimate

$468.5 million

Change From Year-Ago Revenue

2.4%

Earnings Beats in Past 4 Quarters

1

Source: Yahoo! Finance.

Will Acuity Brands see the light this quarter?
Analysts have been increasingly concerned about Acuity's earnings prospects in recent months, having cut their earnings-per-share calls on the most recent quarter by $0.08 and chopping more than $0.27 per share off their consensus for the full 2013 fiscal year. The shares have reflected those concerns, as they rose less than 3% during the first three months of 2013 despite a strong overall market.

Acuity is a lighting specialist that has a wide range of products that include light-emitting diode technology. LEDs have been a hotbed of investor interest lately because of their application to the display industry. Cree's (NASDAQ: CREE  ) LED business encompasses not just pure lighting but also video screens for computers and mobile devices, which have seen huge growth lately. Universal Display (NASDAQ: OLED  ) has gone a step beyond conventional LEDs, turning to organic LED technology as a potential source of efficiency gains and finally starting to ramp up production.

But even as Universal Display, Cree, and a host of other players fight over various parts of the consumer and tech markets, Acuity goes beyond those applications to pull in other lighting needs as well. With lighting systems and controls that serve commercial needs as well as daylighting systems that utilize and enhance the effectiveness of available natural light, Acuity seeks to cover all its bases in the industry. That can cause problems in some economic environments, as Acuity's commercial business has been more sensitive to prevailing economic conditions, especially in parts of Europe.

In its quarterly report, watch for Acuity to discuss its recent buyout of Dutch LED-driver manufacturer eldoLED. The move should enhance Acuity's ability to deliver new innovations in solid-state lighting and bolster its leadership in the indoor/outdoor lighting space.

Acuity relies on its own LED technology, but Universal Display is banking on organic LEDs as its way to play the enormous sales growth in tablets and smartphones. However, like any new technology, there are plenty of risks to Universal Display. Motley Fool analyst Evan Niu, CFA, has authored a new premium report that dives into reasons to buy the company as well as the challenges facing it. For access to this comprehensive report, simply click here now.

Click here to add Acuity Brands to My Watchlist, which can find all of our Foolish analysis on it and all your other stocks.


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