UPDATE 2-Lincoln Electric Q2 profit beats Street; shares up

miércoles 23 de julio de 2008 20:48 CEST

(Adds conference call details, analysts' comments, updates share movement)

By Bhaswati Mukhopadhyay

BANGALORE, July 23 (Reuters) - Welding products maker Lincoln Electric Holdings Inc (LECO.O: Cotización) posted better-than-expected second-quarter earnings, helped by U.S. exports and big infrastructure projects in emerging markets like India and China, sending its shares up as much as 16 percent.

The company has been challenged by the North American market and volatility in the metals markets, but its growth has been driven by higher international demand from oil, gas and energy related projects.

The U.S. slowdown is beginning to bottom out and should rebound towards the end of this year and next year, Walter Liptak of Barrington Research said.

The company, which also has operations in Russia and the Middle-East, said its China business grew 50 percent in the second quarter.

Infrastructure demand in China is clearly the biggest opportunity for Lincoln as infrastructure development continues beyond the Tier 1 cities, Michael Cox of Piper Jaffray said by phone.

The company is also benefiting from the burgeoning shipbuilding industry in China, added Cox, who has a "buy" rating on the stock.

The rebuild-up efforts following the earthquake in May will also provide significant opportunities for the company in China, Cox said.   Continuación...