Acuity Brands Inc. /zigman2/quotes/207670879/composite AYI -0.05% reported Thursday fiscal third-quarter profit that rose well above expectations, amid strength in its lighting and lighting controls business. The lighting company's stock was still inactive in premarket trading. Net income for the quarter to May 31 rose to $105.7 million, or $3.07 a share, from $85.7 million, or $2.37 a share, in the year-ago period. Excluding nonrecurring items, adjusted earnings per share of $3.52 beat the FactSet consensus of $2.96. Sales grew 17.9% to $1.06 billion, above the FactSet consensus of $985.4 million, with brands lighting and lighting control sales up 18.6% to $1.0 billion and intelligent spaces sales rising 5.2% to $58.3 million. Cost of sales increased 20.0% to $615.5 million, as gross margin contracted to 42.0% from 43.0%. The company said it spent $296 million on share repurchases during the quarter. The stock has dropped 26.4% year to date, while the S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.40% has shed 19.9%.