August 4, 2010 / 11:15 AM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-ATS Automation Q1 profit jumps on higher margins

* Revenue C$151.1 mln vs C$152.7 mln yr ago

* Engaged advisors to help separate solar energy unit

Aug 4 (Reuters) - ATS Automation Tooling Systems Inc’s (ATA.TO) quarterly profit jumped more than 20-fold as margins improved at its automation systems group, and the company said it engaged advisors to assist in separating its solar energy unit, Photowatt Technologies. For the first quarter ended June 27, net income was C$6.4 million ($6.3 million), or 7 Canadian cents a share, compared with C$0.3 million, or breakeven per share, a year ago.

ATS, which makes manufacturing and industrial equipment for the automotive, healthcare, energy and consumer electronics industries, reported a marginal drop in consolidated revenue to C$151.1 million.

Its Photowatt division, which makes solar cells, wafers and panels, reported a 22 percent rise in revenue.

Operating margin at the automation systems group — which designs and builds automated manufacturing and assembly systems — was 15 percent, compared with 13 percent a year ago, the company said.

Analysts on average were expecting profit of 7 Canadian cents a share, on revenue of C$140.4 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Shares of ATS, which completed the acquisition of Germany’s healthcare systems maker Sortimat Group in June, closed at C$6.35 Canadian Tuesday on Toronto Stock Exchange.

    $1=1.024 Canadian Dollar Reporting by Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay in Bangalore; Editing by Anne Pallivathuckal

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