Multiproduct industrial company Ingersoll-Rand (NYSE:IR) has become a member of a not-so-elite group. This motley crew includes Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S), News Corp. (NYSE:NWS), and Boston Scientific (NYSE:BSX) -- all very different companies, but all recently reporting lackluster quarters because of steep writedowns from prior acquisitions.

In Ingersoll's case, a $3.7 billion non-cash writedown of assets acquired in the company's purchase of Trane, a climate-control company, led to a reported net loss of $3.3 billion, or $10.27 a share. Those numbers compare to earnings of $2.5 billion, or $9.06 a share, in the final quarter of 2007.

But even with that staggering loss, the news isn't completely one-sided. If you remove the one-time items in the quarter, the company chalked up $0.53 in earnings from continuing operations. At the same time, Ingersoll's fourth-quarter revenue grew by 58%, solely thanks to the Trane acquisition. Without that purchase, the top line would have slipped by 11.5%.

Following its purchase of Trane, Ingersoll-Rand has four distinct segments: Air Conditioning Systems and Services, Climate Control Technologies, Industries Technologies, and Security Technologies. Most of the impairment charge related to the Air Conditioning unit, which houses the former Trane operations. At the same time, revenue for each of the other segments declined.

Looking ahead, in a refrain we should all be familiar with by now, Ingersoll-Rand's powers-that-be "expect declining activity in most of our major end-markets." Specifically, the company anticipates that the U.S. and Europe will witness the most "pronounced year-over-year negative comparisons," with slow growth in the Middle East and Asia.

All in all, pro forma revenue is forecast to decline by 6% to 7% for the year. Nevertheless, the company reiterated per-share earnings guidance for 2009 between $1.85 and $2.25 per share. The mean analyst estimate remains at $2.05 for the year.

I'd urge Fools to watch this company carefully -- without opening their wallets just yet. Ingersoll-Rand is a solid entity, but given its range of businesses, the economy will have to display some real spunk before this company's shares begin to show upward mobility.

Ingersoll-Rand has received a five-star rating from Motley Fool CAPS players. Is your vote included?

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Fool contributor David Lee Smith doesn't own any stocks listed above. He welcomes your comments. Sprint Nextel is a Motley Fool Inside Value pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletters today, free for 30 days. The Fool has a disclosure policy.